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Effects of microplastics on the innate immunity and intestinal microflora of juvenile Eriocheir sinensis

Liu, Zhiquan, Yu, Ping, Cai, Mingqi, Wu, Donglei, Zhang, Meng, Chen, Minghai, Zhao, Yunlong
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.685 pp. 836-846
Bacteroidetes, Eriocheir sinensis, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Proteobacteria, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, caspases, enzyme activity, exposure duration, gene expression, hemocyanin, hemocytes, hepatopancreas, immune response, innate immunity, intestinal microorganisms, juveniles, lysozyme, microplastics, monophenol monooxygenase
The effects of microplastic exposure on the non-specific immune responses and intestinal microflora remain unclear. In this study, juveniles of the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) were exposed to different concentrations of microplastics (0, 0.04, 0.4, 4, and 40 mg/L) for 7, 14, and 21 days to explore their effects. Under microplastic-induced stress, the contents or activities of most immune-related factors [haemocyanin (Hc), alkaline phosphatase (AKP), phenoloxidase (PO), lysozyme (LSZ), and acid phosphatase (ACP)] decreased after an initial increase in the low-dose or short exposure times in the haemolymph and hepatopancreas. The trends in Hc and LSZ gene expression were consistent with the corresponding changes in enzyme activities. Moreover, the haemocyte expression of caspase and MyD88 in the groups with microplastic-induced stress was higher than that in the control group, whereas the expression levels in the hepatopancreas were first increased and then decreased. Furthermore, the relative abundance of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes decreased following exposure to 40 mg/L microplastics, whereas that of Fusobacteria and Proteobacteria increased. These results indicate that microplastics affect immune enzyme activity and immune-related gene expression and change the diversity and composition of the intestinal microflora in E. sinensis.