Effect of copper exposure on histamine concentrations in the marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis)

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Crustaceans can store excess copper in the hepatopancreas, an organ playing a role in digestive activity as well as in neurosecretory control. Here, we studied the effect of copper exposure on the level of histamine, an indicator of food spoilage in edible crustaceans. Histamine is also a neuromodulator in the intestinal nervous system of crustaceans, and a human allergen. Marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis) were exposed to average measured values of 0.031 mg Cu/l and 0.38 mg Cu/l, respectively, for 14 days and then transferred to copper-free water for another 14 days. Concentrations of copper and histamine in the hepatopancreas and muscle were evaluated at different time points. Histamine levels were significantly higher in hepatopancreas and muscle tissues at the highest exposure level, but only after transfer of the animals to copper-free water. The increased histamine concentration following copper exposure may be explained by a (delayed) stress response, and by up-regulated histidine synthesis induced by copper, followed by decarboxylation to histamine.



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  • Histamine concentrations in the hepatopancreas and the muscle of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) measured at different exposure times to two different Cu concentrations for 14 days and after transfer to copper-free water for another 14 days. Each data point represents the averaged measured concentration in three test animals.

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  • Average histamine concentrations in the hepatopancreas and the muscle tissue of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) exposed for 14 days to different copper concentration levels and transferred to copper-free water for another 14 days. Error bars represent the standard deviations (N=6, 27 and 29 for copper-free water, 0.031 mg Cu/l and 0.38 mg Cu/l, respectively). In case of copper-free water, all animals were included that were sampled at the start of the exposures and after 28 days of incubation. Different letters indicate significantly different histamine levels between treatments (one-way ANOVA followed by Tukey’s post-hoc test).

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  • Histamine concentrations in the hepatopancreas and the muscle of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) expressed as a function of copper concentrations in these tissues. Animals were exposed for 14 days to different copper exposure levels and then transferred to copper-free water for another 14 days. Each data point represents an individual measurement. Abbreviations and symbols: r, Pearson correlation coefficient; p, degree of linear relationship between the two variables; ∗∗, significant correlation between copper concentration and histamine concentration in the hepatopancreas of marbled crayfish (SPSS, Pearson correlation test).

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