Gene expression and genotoxicity in Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum) modulated by sediment contamination and lagoon dynamics in the Po river delta

Fabrizio Stefani, Nadia Casatta, Christian Ferrarin, Alberto Izzotti, Francesco Maicu, Luigi Viganò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd The lagoons of the Po River delta are potentially exposed to complex mixtures of contaminants, nevertheless, there is a substantial lack of information about the biological effects of these contaminants in the Po delta lagoons. These environments are highly dynamic and the interactions between chemical and environmental stressors could prevent the proper identification of biological effects and their causes. In this study, we aimed to disentangle such interactions focusing on Manila clams, previously exposed to six lagoons of the Po delta, adopting three complementary tools: a) the detailed description via modelling techniques of lagoon dynamics for salinity and water temperature; b) the response sensitivity of a number of target genes (ahr, cyp4, ρ-gst, σ-gst, hsp22, hsp70, hsp90, ikb, dbh, ach, cat, Mn-sod, Cu/Zn-sod, cyp-a, flp, grx, TrxP) investigated in clam digestive glands by Real Time PCR; and c) the relevance of DNA adducts determined in clams as markers of exposure to genotoxic chemicals. The lagoons showed specific dynamics, and two of them (Marinetta and Canarin) could induce osmotic stress. A group of genes (ahr, cyp4, Mn-sod, σ-gst, hsp-22, cyp-a, TrxP) seemed to be associated with overall lagoon characteristics as may be described by salinity and its variations. Lagoon modelling and a second group of genes (hsp70, hsp90, cat, ikb, ach, grx, Cu/Zn-sod) also suggested that moderate increases of river discharge may imply worse exposure conditions. Oxidative stress seemed to be associated with such events but it was slightly evident also under normal exposure conditions. DNA adduct formation was mainly associated with overwhelmed antioxidant defences (e.g. low Cu/Zn-sod) or seemingly with their lack of response in due time. In Po delta lagoons, Manila clam can be affected by chemical and environmental factors which can contribute to induce oxidative stress, DNA adduct formation and, ultimately, to affect clam condition and health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Contaminant mixtures
  • DNA adducts
  • Gene expression
  • Lagoon modelling
  • Lagoon sediments
  • Oxidative stress
  • Po river
  • Ruditapes philippinarum
  • Salinity


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