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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1999 Feb;36(2):179-85.

Divergent kinetics of hsp70 induction in Oniscus asellus (Isopoda) in response to four environmentally relevant organic chemicals (B[a]P, PCB52, gamma-HCH, PCP): suitability and limits of a biomarker.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Zoological Institute, University of T ubingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Mature specimens of the isopod Oniscus asellus were maintained on soil and leaf litter to which was added different concentrations of either benzo[a]pyren (B[a]P), 2,2',5,5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB52), gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (gamma-HCH), or pentachlorophenol (PCP) for a maximum of 14 days. Time-dependent investigation of the body level of the 70 kD stress protein group (hsp70) in the isopods revealed a significant but transient induction of the hsp70 response after about 24 h of exposure to PCB52 or B[a]P. Despite continuous exposure, the hsp70 level decreased subsequently and ended up close to or below the control level independent of the concentration of PCB52 or B[a]P in the substrate. All applied PCP or gamma-HCH concentrations also resulted in an initial peak of hsp70 response after 24 h of exposure and a second peak after several days of exposure, as well as an elevated hsp70 level throughout the period of exposure. Although acute stress conditions posed by all four organic chemicals were monitored by stress protein induction, hsp70 can act as a biomarker of chronic exposure and effect for PCP and gamma-HCH only.

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