John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Physiological differences in the crab Ucides cordatus from two populations inhabiting mangroves with different levels of cadmium contamination

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Crustaceans found in metal contaminated regions are able to survive and the authors decided to investigate the physiological mechanisms involved by comparing populations from contaminated and non‐contaminated areas. The objective of the present study was to measure the cellular transport of a non‐essential metal (Cd, cadmium), in gills (G) and hepatopancreas (H) of Ucides cordatus, together with cell membrane fluidity, metallothionein levels (MT) and lipid peroxidation (LPO). The two populations compared were from a polluted (P) and a non‐polluted (NP) mangrove area of São Paulo State, Brazil. The authors found, for the first time, a larger Cd transport in G and in H cells from crabs living in P mangrove areas. The cells also had lower plasma membrane fluidity, increased LPO and less MT compared to NP regions. The authors also found larger amounts of Cd in intracellular organelles of G from crabs in P regions, but not in H. Therefore, in polluted areas, these animals showed higher Cd transport, lower plasma membrane fluidity and storage of Cd intracellularly in G cells, while H cells used metallothionein as their main line of defense. The implications for these findings suggest that crabs from polluted areas can accumulate Cd more easily compared to crabs from non‐polluted areas, probably because of an impairment of the regulatory mechanisms of membrane transport. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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