• Journal Article

Effects of lead on Na+, K+-ATPase and hemolymph ion concentrations in the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata


Mosher, S., Cope, W. G., Weber, F., Shea, D., & Kwak, T. J. (2012). Effects of lead on Na+, K+-ATPase and hemolymph ion concentrations in the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata. Environmental Toxicology, 27(5), 268-276. DOI: 10.1002/tox.20639


Freshwater mussels are an imperiled fauna exposed to a variety of environmental toxicants such as lead (Pb) and studies are urgently needed to assess their health and condition to guide conservation efforts. A 28-day laboratory toxicity test with Pb and adult Eastern elliptio mussels (Elliptio complanata) was conducted to determine uptake kinetics and to assess the toxicological effects of Pb exposure. Test mussels were collected from a relatively uncontaminated reference site and exposed to a water-only control and five concentrations of Pb (as lead nitrate) ranging from 1 to 245 mu g/L in a static renewal test with a water hardness of 42 mg/L. Endpoints included tissue Pb concentrations, hemolymph Pb and ion (Na+, K+, Cl-, Ca2+) concentrations, and Na+, K+-ATPase enzyme activity in gill tissue. Mussels accumulated Pb rapidly, with tissue concentrations increasing at an exposure-dependent rate for the first 2 weeks, but with no significant increase from 2 to 4 weeks. Mussel tissue Pb concentrations ranged from 0.34 to 898 mu g/g dry weight, were strongly related to Pb in test water at every time interval (7, 14, 21, and 28 days), and did not significantly increase after day 14. Hemolymph Pb concentration was variable, dependent on exposure concentration, and showed no appreciable change with time beyond day 7, except for mussels in the greatest exposure concentration (245 mu g/L), which showed a significant reduction in Pb by 28 days, suggesting a threshold for Pb binding or elimination in hemolymph at concentrations near 1000 mu g/g. The Na+, K+-ATPase activity in the gill tissue of mussels was significantly reduced by Pb on day 28 and was highly correlated with tissue Pb concentration (R2 = 0.92; P = 0.013). The Na+, K+-ATPase activity was correlated with reduced hemolymph Na+ concentration at the greatest Pb exposure when enzyme activity was at 30% of controls. Hemolymph Ca2+ concentration increased significantly in mussels from the greatest Pb exposure and may be due to remobilization from the shell in an attempt to buffer the hemolymph against Pb uptake and toxicity. We conclude that Na+, K+-ATPase activity in mussels was adversely affected by Pb exposure, however, because the effects on activity were variable at the lower test concentrations, additional research is warranted over this range of exposures. (C) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol, 2012