Indication of the impact of environmental stress on the responses of the bivalve mollusk Unio tumidus to ibuprofen and microplastics based on biomarkers of reductive stress and apoptosis

Published: 6 June 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/t7g97h7wy8.1
Lesya Gnatyshyna


The vulnerability of bivalve mollusks to micropollutants is estimated mainly in single model exposures. However, chronic environmental stress and complex exposures can modulate their responses. To evaluate the impact of population-dependent adaptations on the ability to react to common micropollutants, we compared freshwater bivalves Unio tumidus from two distinct populations, pure (Pr) and contaminated (Ct), in their exposures to microplastics (MP, 1 mg L−1, size 0.1–0.5 mm), pharmaceutical ibuprofen (IBU, 0.8 µg L−1), or their combination (Mix) for 14 days. Control groups from both sites showed remarkable differences, with lower levels of total antioxidant capacity (TAC), metallothionein protein (MTSH), NADH and NAD+, cytochrome P450-related EROD, glutathione-S transferase (GST), and citrate synthase (CS) but higher levels of GSH, GSSG, caspase-3 and cathepsin D (CTD) in the Ct-control group. These data indicate a chronic stress impact in the Ct population. Under exposures, we found an almost common strategy in both populations for NAD+/NADH and MTSH suppression and CTD induction. Additionally, Mix exposure caused an increase in TAC and CS and IBU – GSSG in both populations. However, the expected response to IBU – the suppression of caspase-3 – was indicated only in PrIBU- and PrMix-mollusks. CTD efflux increased dramatically only in PrMP- and PrMix- groups, and suppression of EROD and GST were detected in the PrMix-group. According to discriminant analysis, exposed Pr-groups were highly differentiated from control, whereas Ct-control and exposed groups had common localization demonstrating high resistance. Thus, the same exposures resulted in different adverse outcome pathways depending on the population.