eCite Digital Repository

Mucous cell responses to contaminants and parasites in shorthorn sculpins (Myoxocephalus scorpius) from a former lead-zinc mine in West Greenland


Dang, M and Pittman, K and Bach, L and Sonne, C and Hansson, SV and Sondergaard, J and Stride, M and Nowak, B, Mucous cell responses to contaminants and parasites in shorthorn sculpins (Myoxocephalus scorpius) from a former lead-zinc mine in West Greenland, Science of The Total Environment, 678 pp. 207-216. ISSN 0048-9697 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.412


Previous studies of sculpins from the former lead (Pb) - zinc (Zn) mine near Maarmorilik, West Greenland, have shown that these fish are affected by heavy metal exposure from the mine. In this study, we applied mucosal mapping (a stereological method for mucosal quantification in fish) to uncover interactions between the host, parasites and heavy metal exposure (Pb and Zn) in shorthorn sculpins from the Maarmorilik mining site at a gradient of 3 stations. Skin and gill mucosal epithelia of shorthorn sculpins were significantly affected and reflected the exposure to environmental heavy metals and parasites. Size of skin mucous cells was significantly smallest in the sculpin from the station 3 where heavy metal contamination was lowest and the skin parasite load was highest. Gill filament mucous cells were largest and densest in fish from station 1 which was the most contaminated site. In gill lamellae the density of mucous cell followed a toxicity gradient and was significantly highest at the most contaminated station and significantly lowest at the least contaminated station. The persistent presence of toxic Pb and Zn levels in the sediment at the most contaminated station may have induced a small but measurable reduction in the surface area available for respiration and may have affected diffusion distance. The strong correlation between size of filamentous mucous cells and Pb concentrations in liver suggests that these cells can play an active role in reducing the somatic load of Pb in sculpin. We suggest that mucosal mapping can be used to assess effects of contaminant and parasite exposure in future environmental field studies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mucosal mapping, heavy metals, parasite, skin, gills, mining
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fish pests and diseases
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Dang, M (Ms Mai Dang)
UTAS Author:Stride, M (Dr Megan Dean)
UTAS Author:Nowak, B (Professor Barbara Nowak)
ID Code:136584
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2020-01-10
Last Modified:2020-04-30

Repository Staff Only: item control page