Effects of cyanobacteria Synechocystis spp. in the host-parasite model Crassostrea gasar-Perkinsus marinus

Perkinsosis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Perkinsus genus. In Brazil, two species, P. beihaiensis and P. marinus, are frequently found infecting native oysters (Crassostrea gasar and C. rhizophorae) from cultured and wild populations in several states of the Northeast region. The impacts of this disease in bivalves from Brazil, as well as the interactions with environmental factors, are poorly studied. In the present work, we evaluated the in vitro effects of the cyanobacteria Synechocystis spp. on trophozoites of P. marinus and haemocytes of C. gasar. Four cyanobacteria strains isolated from the Northeast Brazilian coast were used as whole cultures (WCs) and extracellular products (ECPs). Trophozoites of P. marinus were exposed for short (4 h) and long (48 h and 7 days, the latter only for ECPs) periods, while haemocytes were exposed for a short period (4 h). Cellular and immune parameters, i.e. cell viability, cell count, reactive oxygen species production (ROS) and phagocytosis of inert (latex beads) and biological particles (zymosan and trophozoites of P. marinus) were measured by flow cytometry. The viability of P. marinus trophozoites was improved in response to WCs of Synechocystis spp., which could be a beneficial effect of the cyanobacteria providing nutrients and reducing reactive oxygen species. Long-term exposure of trophozoites to ECPs of cyanobacteria did not modify in vitro cell proliferation nor viability. In contrast, C. gasar haemocytes showed a reduction in cell viability when exposed to WCs, but not to ECPs. However, ROS production was not altered. Haemocyte ability to engulf latex particles was reduced when exposed mainly to ECPs of cyanobacteria; while neither the WCs nor the ECPs modified phagocytosis of the biological particles, zymosan and P. marinus. Our results suggest a negative effect of cyanobacteria from the Synechocystis genus on host immune cells, in contrast to a more beneficial effect on the parasite cell, which could together disrupt the balance of the host-parasite interaction and make oysters more susceptible to P. marinus as well as opportunistic infections.

Fernando Ramos Queiroga, Luis Fernando Marques-Santos, Hélène Hégaret and al., Aquatic Toxicology, Volume 187, June 2017, Pages 100–107

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