In the context of massive summer mortality events of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas, the aim of this study was to investigate the early effects on genes, enzymes and haemocyte parameters implicated in immune defence mechanisms in C. gigas oysters exposed to a potentially hostile environment, i.e. to an herbicide alone or within a mixture. Following 2h of exposure to the herbicide diuron at 1μgL-1, the repression of different genes implicated in immune defence mechanisms in the haemocytes and the inhibition of enzyme activities, such as laccase-type phenoloxidase (PO) in the plasma, were observed. The inhibition of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in the plasma was also observed after 6 and 24h of exposure. In the mixture with the herbicides diuron and isoproturon, and the pharmaceutical ibuprofen, catecholase-type PO activity in the plasma and the percentage of phagocytosis in the haemocytes were reduced after 6h of exposure. Our results showed that early effects on molecular, biochemical and cellular parameters can be detected in the presence of diuron alone or within a mixture, giving an insight of its potential effect in situations that can be found in natural environments, i.e. relatively high concentrations for short periods of time. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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