Immunotoxic effects of nickel in the mud crab Scylla serrata

Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2009 Jan;26(1):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2008.02.015. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


The presence of xenobiotic contaminants especially metals in coastal waters is a major concern as they are immunotoxic to aquatic animals even at low concentrations. In our present study, mud crab Scylla serrata was exposed to three sublethal concentrations (0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 mg/L) of nickel for 30 days under laboratory conditions and the alterations of hematological parameters like haemocyte count, clotting time, haemocyte viability, protein content and immunomodulatory components like phenoloxidase, phagocytosis and superoxide anion generation were measured. In addition, the accumulation patterns of nickel were measured in gills, hepatopancreas and ovary. The accumulation was more in gills when compared to hepatopancreas and ovary of crabs exposed to nickel and was not detected in the control crabs. The results revealed a significant (P<0.05) induction of superoxide anion generation and phagocytosis activity in the haemolymph of the crabs exposed to nickel when compared to control. On the contrary, the rest of the parameters were significantly (P<0.05) reduced in the experimental groups when compared to the control. All the studied parameters exhibited a concentration dependent response.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brachyura / drug effects*
  • Brachyura / immunology*
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Immunotoxins / toxicity*
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Nickel / toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Immunotoxins
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Nickel