Lysosomal membrane stability in laboratory- and field-exposed terrestrial isopods Porcellio scaber (Isopoda, Crustacea)
Two established methods for assessment of the cytotoxicity of contaminants, the lysosomal latency (LL) assay and the neutral red retention (NRR) assay, were successfully applied to in toto digestive gland tubes (hepatopancreas) of the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber (Isopoda, Crustacea). In vitro exposure of isolated gland tubes to copper was used as a positive control to determine the performance of the two methods. Lysosomal latency and the NRR assay were then used on in vivo (via food) laboratory-exposed animals and on field populations. Arbitrarily selected criteria for determination of the fitness of P. scaber were set on the basis of lysosomal membrane stability (LMS) as assessed with in toto digestive gland tubes. Decreased LMS was detected in animals from all polluted sites, but cytotoxicity data were not in agreement with concentrations of pollutants. Lysosomal membrane stability in the digestive gland tubes of animals from an environment in Idrija, Slovenia that was highly polluted with mercury (260 μg/g dry wt food and 1,600 μg/g dry wt soil) was less affected than LMS in laboratory animals fed with 5 and 50 μg Hg/g dry weight for 3 d. This probably indicates tolerance of P. scaber to mercury in the mercury-polluted environment and/or lower bioavailability of environmental mercury. In animals from the vicinity of a thermal power plant with environmental mercury concentrations three to four orders of magnitude lower than those in Idrija, LMS was severely affected. In general, the LL assay was more sensitive than the NRR assay. The LMS assay conducted on digestive gland tubes of terrestrial isopods is highly recommended for integrated biomarker studies.