Microcosm tributyltin bioaccumulation and multibiomarker assessment in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2003 Nov;22(11):2679-87. doi: 10.1897/02-413.


Blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, were exposed to two different concentrations of tributyltin (TBT) in seawater, 1,000 ng Sn/L (C1 experiment) and 10 ng Sn/L (C2 experiment), for 4 d, in order to evaluate the bioaccumulation of TBT by mussels Mytilus edulis in microcosms and to test the ability of a multimarkers analysis to determine the effects of TBT on the biochemical parameters in mussels. Tissue burdens of Mytilus edulis were 204 +/- 7 and 2,120 +/- 4 ng Sn/g TBT after the 4-d tests for the C2 and C1 experiments, respectively. Analyses of dissected organs and/or tissues demonstrated that TBT accumulated to the greatest extent in gills in the C1 experiment and in the digestive gland in the C2 experiment. Bioconcentration factors (BCFs) were 12,100 +/- 300 and 2,000 +/- 10 for mussels exposed in the C2 and C1 experiments, respectively. The four biomarkers used in this work were acetylcholinesterase (AChE), glutathione S-transferase (GST), catalase (CAT) activities, and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) contents. No significant changes were observed in the measured enzyme activities or in TBARS concentration after the 4-d TBT exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Bivalvia / physiology*
  • Catalase / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione Transferase / pharmacology
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / analysis
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Trialkyltin Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Trialkyltin Compounds / toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Water Pollutants / toxicity*


  • Biomarkers
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Trialkyltin Compounds
  • Water Pollutants
  • tributyltin
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Acetylcholinesterase