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Water Res. 2015 Mar 15;71:257-73. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

UV and hydrogen peroxide treatment restores changes in innate immunity caused by exposure of fish to reuse water.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Electronic address:


The purpose of this study was to assess the innate immunity of goldfish exposed to reuse water, and UV/H2O2-treated reuse water, using a real-time flow-through exposure system. The reuse water generated by ultrafiltration of finished wastewater from the municipal wastewater treatment plant was analyzed for the presence of a panel of 20 herbicides/fungicides and 46 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP). There was a seasonal variation in the profile and concentrations of xenobiotics in reuse water with lowest levels occurring in the summer. The innate immunity parameters assessed were cytokine (IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-10, TNFα2), and cytokine receptor (TNFR1, TNFR2, IFNGR1, IFNGR2) gene expression, and phagocytosis of kidney leukocyte subpopulations. Assessment of innate immunity parameters was done after acute (7 days) and sub chronic (30 and 60 days) exposure to reuse water, UV/H2O2-treated reuse water, and activated carbon-treated reuse water (ACT; control), during spring, summer and fall of 2012. Temporal (acute versus sub chronic) as well as seasonal differences in innate immunity of fish exposed to reuse water were observed. The acute exposure of fish to reuse water caused significant down-regulation in cytokine gene expression in different organs of fish (kidney, spleen, liver) and phagocytic ability of different kidney leukocyte subpopulations. The immune gene expression and phagocytosis of kidney leukocytes of fish returned to ACT control levels after sub chronic exposure suggesting that fish have habituated to the reuse water exposure. The changes in gene expression after acute exposure were related to variations in the profile of xenobiotics in reuse water during different seasons. The efficiency of xenobiotic removal using UV/H2O2 ranged between 1.6 and 100% indicating that treatment of reuse water using high dose UV/H2O2 was only partially effective in removing the xenobiotics, as assessed by both chemical analyses and measurement of innate immune responsiveness of the fish. Furthermore, exposure of fish to reuse water and UV/H2O2-treated reuse water generated in the spring and fall caused greater changes in innate immunity after acute exposure, compared to fish exposed to ACT reuse water, indicating that the remediation of reuse water, should be considered in order to protect aquatic and public health.


Innate immunity; Phagocytosis; Reuse water; UV/H(2)O(2) treatment; Xenobiotics

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