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Evaluation of cadmium, lead and metallothionein contents in the tissues of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from the Campania coast (Italy): Levels and seasonal trends

June 30, 2014

The biological effect of seasonality on cadmium, lead and metallothionein contents was assessed in mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis from natural banks located along the coastline of the Gulf of Naples (Campania, Italy). Heavy metals and metallothionein concentrations were measured in digestive and reproductive glands. The results showed a clear correlation between metallothionein content and the reproductive gland status determined during the seasons; on the contrary, no correlation was found between metallothionein and metal contents. Data allow us to hypothesize that metallothionein functions go beyond metal detoxification, thus opening new scenarios for these proteins in invertebrates. The effect of seasons on metals concentration in mussel tissues showed similar seasonal patterns between the sites, regardless of their anthropogenic impacts. Cadmium content was not strictly related to seasonal periods, whereas lead content was significantly lower in summer. The results also indicate that the metal contents in mussels from the Gulf of Naples do not represent a risk to human health, even in the period of their maximum accumulation, and that the relaying of mussels before marketing could improve the animal stress conditions, but having a slight effect on metal excretion.

Scudiero R, Cretì P, Trinchella F, Esposito MG, in press: Evaluation of cadmium, lead and metallothionein contents in the tissues of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from the Campania coast (Italy): Levels and seasonal trends, Comptes Rendus Biologies, doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2014.05.003. Article (subscription required).

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