Immune suppression of the echinoderm Asterias rubens (L.) following long-term ocean acidification

We compared effects of exposure to predicted near-future (2100) ocean acidification (OA; pH 7.7) and normal seawater (Control; pH 8.1) on immune and stress responses in the adult sea star Asterias rubens. Analyses were made after one week and after six months of continuous exposure. Following one week exposure to acidified water, the pH of coelomic fluid was significantly reduced. Levels of the chaperon Hsp70 were elevated while key cellular players in immunity, coelomocytes, were reduced by approximately 50%. Following long-term exposure (six months) levels of Hsp70 returned to control values, whereas immunity was further impaired, evidenced by the reduced phagocytic capacity of coelomocytes and inhibited activation of p38 MAP-kinase. Such impacts of reduced seawater pH may have serious consequences for resistance to pathogens in a future acidified ocean.

Hernroth B., Baden S., Thorndyke M., & Dupont S., in press. Immune suppression of the echinoderm Asterias rubens (L.) following long-term ocean acidification. Aquatic Toxicology doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2011.03.001. Article (subscription required).


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