Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1603–1612 | Cite as

Development of a method to assess the ichthyotoxicity of the harmful marine microalgae Karenia spp. using gill cell cultures from red sea bream (Pagrus major )

  • Nobuyuki OhkuboEmail author
  • Yuji Tomaru
  • Haruo Yamaguchi
  • Saho Kitatsuji
  • Kazuhiko Mochida


The present study reports the development of a method to investigate ichthyotoxicity of harmful marine microalgae using cultured red sea bream (Pagrus major) gill cells. The cultured gill cells formed adherent 1–2 layers on the bottom of the culture plate and could tolerate seawater exposure for 4 h without significant alteration in cell survival. The microalgae Karenia mikimotoi, Karenia papilionacea, K. papilionacea phylotype-I, and Heterosigma akashiwo were cultured, then directly exposed to gill cells. After K. mikimotoi and K. papilionacea phylotype-I exposure, live cell coverage was significantly lower than in the cells exposed to a seawater-based medium (control cells; P < 0.05). Toxicity of K. mikimotoi cells was weakened when cells were ruptured, and was almost inexistent when the algal cells were removed from the culture by filtration. Significant cytotoxicity was detected in the concentrated ruptured cells, and in the concentrated of ruptured cells after freezing and thawing though cytotoxicity was weakened; whereas, cytotoxicity almost disappeared after heat treatment. In addition, examination of the distribution of toxic substances from the ruptured cells showed that cytotoxicity mainly occurred in the fraction with the resuspended pellet after centrifugation at 3000×g.


Cytotoxicity Karenia mikimotoi Karenia papilionacea Marine fish gill cells 



We are grateful to Dr. Shigeru Itakura (Fisheries Agency of Japan), Dr. Osamu Kurata (Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University), and Ms. Chiaki Hiramoto (National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea). This study was supported in part by a grant-in-aid from the Fisheries Agency of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuyuki Ohkubo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuji Tomaru
    • 1
  • Haruo Yamaguchi
    • 2
  • Saho Kitatsuji
    • 1
  • Kazuhiko Mochida
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, Fisheries Research and Education AgencyHatsukaichiJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureKochi UniversityNankokuJapan

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