Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen

, Volume 33, Issue 1–4, pp 278–291 | Cite as

Mixed function oxygenases and xenobiotic detoxication/toxication systems in bivalve molluscs

  • M. N. Moore
  • D. R. Livingstone
  • P. Donkin
  • B. L. Bayne
  • J. Widdows
  • D. M. Lowe
Oil, Oil Dispersants And Related Substances


Components of a xenobiotic detoxication/toxication system involving mixed function oxygenases are present inMytilus edulis. Our paper critically reviews the recent literature on this topic which reported the apparent absence of such a system in bivalve molluscs and attempts to reconcile this viewpoint with our own findings on NADPH neotetrazolium reductase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, aldrin epoxidation and other reports of the presence of mixed function oxygenases. New experimental data are presented which indicate that some elements of the detoxication/toxication system inM. edulis can be induced by aromatic hydrocarbons derived from crude oil. This includes a brief review of the results of long-term experiments in which mussels were exposed to low concentrations of the water accommodated fraction of North Sea crude oil (7.7–68 µg 1−1) in which general stress responses such as reduced physiological scope for growth, cytotoxic damage to lysosomal integrity and cellular damage are considered as characteristics of the general stress syndrome induced by the toxic action of the xenobiotics. In addition, induction in the blood cells of microsomal NADPH neotetrazolium reductase (associated with mixed function oxygenases) and the NADPH generating enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase are considered to be specific biological responses to the presence of aromatic hydrocarbons. The consequences of this detoxication/toxication system forMytilus edulis are discussed in terms of the formation of toxic electrophilic intermediate metabolites which are highly reactive and can combine with DNA, RNA and proteins with subsequent damage to these cellular constituents. Implications for neoplasms associated with the blood cells are also discussed. Finally, in view of the increased use of mussel species in pollutant monitoring programmes, the induction phenomenon which is associated with microsomal enzymes in the blood cells is considered as a possible tool for the detection of the biological effects of environmental contamination by low concentrations of certain groups of organic xenobiotics.


Aromatic Hydrocarbon Epoxidation General Stress Bivalve Mollusc Aldrin 
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Copyright information

© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. N. Moore
    • 1
  • D. R. Livingstone
    • 1
  • P. Donkin
    • 1
  • B. L. Bayne
    • 1
  • J. Widdows
    • 1
  • D. M. Lowe
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Environment Research Council, Institute for Marine Environmental ResearchPlymouthEngland

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