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The stress–immunity axis in shellfish

Christopher Coates, Kenneth Söderhäll

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, Volume: 186, Issue: November 2021, Start page: 107492

Swansea University Author: Christopher Coates

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Abstract

It is a difficult task to describe what constitutes a ‘healthy’ shellfish (e.g., crustacean, bivalve). Visible defects such as discolouration, missing limbs or spines, fouling, lesions, and exoskeletal fractures can be indicative of underlying issues, senescence, or a ‘stressed’ animal. The absence...

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Published in: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
ISSN: 0022-2011
Published: Elsevier BV 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa55403
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Abstract: It is a difficult task to describe what constitutes a ‘healthy’ shellfish (e.g., crustacean, bivalve). Visible defects such as discolouration, missing limbs or spines, fouling, lesions, and exoskeletal fractures can be indicative of underlying issues, senescence, or a ‘stressed’ animal. The absence of such symptoms is not evidence of a disease-free or a stress-free state. Now, more than ever, aquatic invertebrates must cope with acute and chronic environmental perturbations, such as, heatwaves and cold shocks, xenobiotic contaminants, intoxication events, and promiscuous pathogens expanding their host and geographic ranges. With that in mind, how does one determine the extent to which shellfish become stressed in situ (natural) or in cultured (artificial) settings to enhance disease susceptibility? Many biomarkers – predominantly biochemical and cellular measures of shellfish blood (haemolymph) – are considered to gauge immunosuppression and immunocompetence. Such measures range from immune cell (haemocyte) counts to enzymic activities and metabolite quantitation. Stressed invertebrates often reflect degraded conditions of their ecosystems, referred to as environmental indicators. We audit briefly the broad immune functions of shellfish, how they are modulated by known and emerging stressors, and discuss these concepts with respect to neuroendocrinology and immunotoxicology. We assert that chronic stress, alone or in combination with microbial, chemical and abiotic factors, increases the risk of infectious disease in shellfish, exacerbates idiopathic morbidity, and reduces the likelihood of recovery. Acute stress events can lead to immunomodulation, but these effects are largely transient. Enhancing our understanding of shellfish health and immunity is imperative for tackling losses at each stage of the aquatic food cycle and disease outbreaks in the wild.
Keywords: Disease connectivity; Haemolymph biomarkers; Immunocompetence; Immunosuppression; Innate immunity; Neuroendocrinology; Microplastics
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: November 2021
Start Page: 107492