Approved Abstracts

Toxicopathic effects of lithium in mussels



Author(s): Fraga N; Benito D; Briaudeau T; Izagirre U; Ruiz P;
Presenter: Nadezhna Fraga

The increasing use of lithium in industrial processes, new devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs, small gadgets…) and new ways of transport (electric vehicles and bicycles) could have a significant impact on the aquatic environment. Nowadays, lithium-ion batteries are the main storage technology since lithium converts chemical energy into electric energy very efficiently, reducing costs and increasing manufacturing capacities. In this context, demand for lithium has already risen dramatically and the extraction of this element could have a significant environmental impact. Besides, lithium is best known for its therapeutical use in medicine in view of the fact that the nervous system is its primary target organ. Psychiatric diseases such as bipolarity or schizophrenia are treated by this element, although the therapeutic window between toxicity and effective dosing is still really narrow. Bearing this in mind, unfortunately, there is only scarce information concerning the toxicity of lithium in marine organisms. Mussels are widely used as sentinel organisms due to their biological and ecological characteristics and can be used in acute and sublethal toxicity assays. Therefore, the objective of this study is to determine the toxicity and histological alterations of lithium using the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis as model organism. For this purpose, an acute and a sublethal toxicity tests were headed. In the first experiment, mussels were exposed for 9 days to a range of seven different acute concentrations of lithium (2, 5, 13, 34, 89, 233 and 610 mg/L Li) in order to find the median lethal concentration as well as the lethal concentration to 10% of the population. Taking the results of the acute test into account, mussels were exposed to four different environmentally relevant sublethal concentrations of lithium (0, 0.1, 1, 10 mg/L Li) for 21 days. Digestive gland and gonad samples were taken at day 0, 1, 7 and 21 for histopathological analysis. Frozen samples of the digestive glands, feet and gills were also taken for further histochemical and chemical analysis. Results showed that M. galloprovincialis had a LC50 value of 153 mg/L after 9 days of exposure, which is higher than concentrations found in the environment. However, lower concentrations, which nowadays can be detected in the aquatic environment, could lead to histopathological effects in a time-dependent manner. In the sublethal toxicity assay, hemocytic infiltration was observed especially in the stomach epithelium of the mussels exposed to the highest concentrations. Atrophy and degeneration of the digestive gland were also observed after 21 days of exposure. These findings open new perspectives for the understanding of the toxic effects of lithium on marine organisms and evidences the need for further long-term research together with the assessment of a battery of responses at different levels of biological organizations.

Keywords: Lithium; Toxicopathology; Mussel

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