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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 824; doi:10.3390/ijms18040824

Morphofunctional Alterations in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Gills after Exposure to Mercury Chloride

Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Science, University of Calabria, Via P. Bucci 4/B, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy
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Academic Editor: Juliette Legler
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 9 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: A Model for Toxicological Research)
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Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant that may exert its toxic effects on living organisms and is found in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in three chemical forms; elemental, organic, and inorganic. The inorganic form (iHg) tends to predominantly accumulate in aquatic environments. The gill apparatus is a very dynamic organ that plays a fundamental role in gas exchange, osmoregulation, acid-base regulation, detoxification, and excretion, and the gills are the primary route of waterborne iHg entrance in fish. In the present work we investigated the morphofunctional and ultrastructural effects in Danio rerio gills after 96 h exposure to two low HgCl2 concentrations (7.7 and 38.5 µg/L). Our results clearly demonstrated that a short-term exposure to low concentrations of mercury chloride resulted in gill morphology alterations and in the modifications of both Na+/K+-ATPase and metallothioneins (MTs) expression pattern. The main morphological effects recorded in this work were represented by hyperplasia and ectopia of chloride cells (CCs), lamellar fusion, increased mucous secretion, alteration of pavement cells (PVCs), detachment of the secondary epithelium, pillar cell degeneration, degeneration, and apoptosis. Trough immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR analysis also showed a dose-related modulation of Na+/K+-ATPase and MTs. View Full-Text
Keywords: inorganic mercury; gills; acute effects; histology; ultrastructure; confocal microscopy; RT-PCR; metallothionein; Na+/K+-ATPase inorganic mercury; gills; acute effects; histology; ultrastructure; confocal microscopy; RT-PCR; metallothionein; Na+/K+-ATPase
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Macirella, R.; Brunelli, E. Morphofunctional Alterations in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Gills after Exposure to Mercury Chloride. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 824.

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