Immunotoxic effects of single and combined pharmaceuticals exposure on a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) B lymphoma cell line

Mar Pollut Bull. 2017 May 15;118(1-2):237-247. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.041. Epub 2017 Mar 2.


The potential risk of pharmaceuticals in the environment to top-predators is still largely unknown. In this study, we assessed the immunotoxic effects of ten pharmaceuticals individually and as mixtures on a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) B lymphoma cell line. A significant reduction in lymphocyte transformation was observed following an exposure to 12,500μg/L 17α-ethinyl estradiol and 25,000μg/L naproxen. Exposure to 12,500μg/L 17α-ethinyl estradiol decreased the percentage of cell in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle while increasing the percentage of cells in the S phase. Carbamazepine exposure increased the amount of cells in the G2/M phase. Binary mixtures showed synergistic effects in lymphocyte transformation, cell cycle and apoptosis assays. Concentrations inducing toxic effects in the cell line were similar to those affecting fish in previous studies. A reduction of functional activities of the immune system may lead to altered host resistance to pathogens in free-ranging pinnipeds.

Keywords: Cell line; Harbor seal; Immunotoxicity; In vitro; Mixture; Pharmaceuticals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbamazepine / toxicity
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Estradiol / toxicity
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphoma / immunology
  • Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Naproxen / toxicity
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis*
  • Phoca / immunology*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Carbamazepine
  • Estradiol
  • Naproxen