Immune responses and ultrastructural changes of hemocytes in freshwater crab Sinopotamon henanense exposed to elevated cadmium

Aquat Toxicol. 2012 Jan 15;106-107:140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Aug 27.


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic heavy metals that can impact immunological parameters in aquatic animals. To investigate the immunotoxicity and ultrastructural changes of hemocytes, specimens of Sinopotamon henanense were exposed to different concentrations of cadmium and the differences in immunologic parameters between Cd exposure groups and control groups were investigated. Total hemocyte count (THC) in Cd-exposure groups were decreased significantly when compared with the control groups, especially in the groups treated with higher Cd concentrations and longer exposure time, while no significant differences were observed in the proportions of the three types of hemocytes. Phenoloxidase (PO) activities were significantly higher in Cd-exposure groups than the control groups. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities gradually increased in 7.25 and 14.5 mg L⁻¹ Cd groups, but in other higher Cd groups, they showed first increase and following decrease with the exposure time prolonged. Acid phosphatase (ACP) activities were induced at 48 h, and then decreased, while alkaline phosphatase (AKP) activities increased gradually until 96 h. Electron microscopic results showed that nucleus, mitochondria and rough endoplasm recutulum (rER) of three types of hemocytes were sensitive to acute Cd toxicity. In Cd-exposed groups, chromatin condensation, nucleus deformation and nucleus envelope rupture were noted. Additionally, mitochondrial dilation and rER degranulation were observed in Cd-treated crabs. These results suggested that immune response and organelles of hemocyte of S. henanense were impacted by Cd exposure, and the changes of these immunologic parameters reflect changes in crab immune response capability consequent to Cd exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brachyura / drug effects*
  • Brachyura / immunology
  • Brachyura / metabolism
  • Brachyura / ultrastructure
  • Cadmium / toxicity*
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Hemocytes / drug effects*
  • Hemocytes / immunology
  • Hemocytes / metabolism
  • Hemocytes / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Cadmium
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Acid Phosphatase