Tire microplastics exposure in soil induces changes in expression profile of immune-related genes in terrestrial crustacean Porcellio scaber

Dolar A, Drobne D, Narat M, Jemec Kokalj A
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Tire particles pose a potential threat to terrestrial organisms because they are deposited in large quantities in the soil by tire wear abrasion, and moreover their chemical complexity poses an additional risk. Microplastics can affect several physiological processes in organisms, including those related to immunity. Therefore, we investigated the expression profile of selected immune-related genes (MnSod, Manganese Superoxide dismutase; Cat, Catalase; CypG, Cyclophilin G; Nos, Nitric oxide synthase; Ppae2a, Prophenoloxidase-activating enzyme 2a; Dscam, Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule; Myd88, Myeloid-differentiation factor 88; Toll4, Toll-like receptor 4; Mas-like, Masquerade-like protein) in haemocytes and the digestive gland hepatopancreas of terrestrial crustacean Porcellio scaber after two different time exposures (4 and 14 days) to tire particles in soil. Our results reveal for the first time the response of P. scaber after microplastic exposure at the transcriptome level. We observed time- and tissue-dependent changes in the expression of the analysed genes, with more pronounced alterations in haemocytes after 14 days of exposure. Some minor changes were also observed in hepatopancreas after 4 days. Changes in the expression profile of the analysed genes are a direct indication of a modulated immune status of the test organism, which, however, does not represent an adverse effect on the test organism under the given conditions. Nevertheless, the question remains whether the observed change in immune status affects the immunocompetence of the test organism