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Chemosphere. 2003 Aug;52(7):1105-13.

Response of multixenobiotic defence mechanism in Dreissena polymorpha exposed to environmental stress.

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Université de METZ, UFR Sci-FA, Laboratoire ESE, CNRS FRE 2635, Campus Bridoux, Avenue du Général Delestraint, 57070 Metz, France.


Multixenobiotic defence mechanism (MXDM) has been recently described as a first line defence system in many aquatic organisms and it has raised attention for its potential as an early biomarker of exposure to environmental stress. In order to investigate the relevance of this biomarker in the freshwater zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, we examined its response to exposure and to cessation of exposure. For this purpose, depurated zebra mussels were transplanted to natural rivers or exposed to medium experimentally contaminated with fuel oil 2 in the laboratory. After the exposure period, mussels were submitted to depuration in clean water in the laboratory. The level of MXDM activity was assessed by the efflux method that allows a simple and fast measure of the rate of rhodamine B efflux. MXDM activity was induced following exposure and induction appears earlier after laboratory exposure (3 days) than after in the field exposure (3-14 days). The level of MXDM response could not be directly correlated to exposure dose in the laboratory and to isolated physicochemical parameters or AOX levels in the field. The behaviour of MXDM activity seems to reflect the occurrence of exposure to a global stress rather than to specific compounds. Our results highlighted the possibility to monitor MXDM response in the freshwater zebra mussel. In spite of the difficulty to interpret responses resulting from the lack of specificity of response, multixenobiotic defence mechanism displays qualities to represent a biomarker of general stress in freshwater ecosystems.

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