Immunofluorescence detection and localization of B[a]P and TCDD in earthworm tissues

Susanna Sforzini, Michael N. Moore, Marta Boeri, Emilio Benfenati, Andrea Colombo, Aldo Viarengo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An immunohistochemical method using antibodies against polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxins was developed on frozen tissue sections of the earthworm Eisenia andrei exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of benzo[. a]pyrene (B[. a]P) (0.1, 10, 50. ppm) and 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-. para-dioxin (TCDD) (0.01, 0.1, 2. ppb) in spiked standard soils. The concentrations of B[. a]P and TCDD in E. andrei exposed to the same conditions were also measured using analytical chemical procedures. The results demonstrated that tissues of worms exposed to even minimal amount of B[. a]P and TCDD reacted positively and specifically to anti-PAHs and -dioxins antibody. Immunofluorescence revealed a much more intense staining for the gut compared to the body wall; moreover, positively immunoreactive amoeboid coelomocytes were also observed, i.e. cells in which we have previously demonstrated the occurrence of genotoxic damage. The double immunolabelling with antibodies against B[. a]P/TCDD and the lysosomal enzyme cathepsin D demonstrated the lysosomal accumulation of the organic xenobiotic compounds, in particular in the cells of the chloragogenous tissue as well as in coelomocytes, involved into detoxification and protection of animals against toxic chemicals. The method described is timesaving, not expensive and easily applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Antibodies
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Colocalization
  • Dioxin
  • Earthworms
  • Immunofluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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