Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 201–210 | Cite as

Sublethal Effect of Copper Toxicity Against Histopathological Changes in the Spiny Lobster, Panulirus homarus (Linnaeus, 1758)

  • A. Maharajan
  • S. Rajalakshmi
  • M. Vijayakumaran
  • P. Kumarasamy


The tissue damage induced by various organic pollutants in aquatic animals is well documented, but there is a dearth of information relating to the histological alterations induced by copper in the spiny lobster. In the present study, intermoult juveniles of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus (average weight 150–200 g) were exposed to two sublethal concentrations of the copper (9.55 and 19.1 μg/l) for a period of 28 days. The muscle, hepatopancreas, midgut, gills, thoracic ganglion and heart of the lobsters were then dissected out and processed for light microscopic studies. Exposure to copper was found to result in several alterations in the histoarchitecture of the muscle, hepatopancreas, midgut, gills, thoracic ganglion and heart of P. homarus. The alterations included disruption and congestion of muscle bundle in muscle tissue; blackened haemocytes; distended lumen and F cell; necrosis of the tubules of the hepatopancreas; disarrangement of circular muscle of the midgut; accumulation of haemocytes in the haemocoelic space; swelling and fusion of lamellae; abnormal gill tips; hyperplastic, necrotic, and blackened secondary gill lamellae of the gills; damaged neurosecretory cell and sensory and motor fibre; necrotic of the thoracic ganglion; dispersedly arranged muscle bands; clumped satellite cells and nucleus of the heart. The results obtained suggest that the muscle, hepatopancreas, midgut, gills, thoracic ganglion and heart of lobsters exposed to copper were structurally altered. Such alterations could affect vital physiological functions, such as absorption, storage and secretion of the hepatopancreas, digestion of gut and respiration, osmotic and ionic regulations of the gills, which in turn could ultimately affect the survival and growth of P. homarus. Thus, all possible remedial measures should be adopted to prevent the occurrence of copper contamination in the aquatic environment.


Panulirus homarus Copper Histology Muscle Hepatopancreas Midgut Gills Thoracic ganglion Heart 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Maharajan
    • 1
  • S. Rajalakshmi
    • 2
  • M. Vijayakumaran
    • 3
  • P. Kumarasamy
    • 1
  1. 1.PG and Research Department of ZoologyKhadir Mohideen CollegeThanjavur DistrictIndia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyKanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate StudiesPuducherryIndia
  3. 3.National Institute of Ocean TechnologyChennaiIndia

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