Interspecific differences in oxidative DNA damage after hydrogen peroxide exposure of sea urchin coelomocytes

Fengjia Liu, Kim S. Last, Theodore B. Henry, Helena C. Reinardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Interspecific comparison of DNA damage can provide information on the relative vulnerability of marine organisms to toxicants that induce oxidative genotoxicity. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an oxidative toxicant that causes DNA strand breaks and nucleotide oxidation and is used in multiple industries including Atlantic salmon aquaculture to treat infestations of ectoparasitic sea lice. H2O2 (up to 100 mM) can be released into the water after sea lice treatment, with potential consequences of exposure in nontarget marine organisms. The objective of the current study was to measure and compare differences in levels of H2O2-induced oxidative DNA damage in coelomocytes from Scottish sea urchins Echinus esculentus, Paracentrotus lividus, and Psammechinus miliaris. Coelomocytes were exposed to H2O2 (0-50 mM) for 10 min, cell concentration and viability were quantified, and DNA damage was measured by the fast micromethod, an alkaline unwinding DNA method, and the modified fast micromethod with nucleotide-specific enzymes. Cell viability was >92% in all exposures and did not differ from controls. Psammechinus miliaris coelomocytes had the highest oxidative DNA damage with 0.07 ± 0.01, 0.08 ± 0.01, and 0.07 ± 0.01 strand scission factors (mean ± SD) after incubation with phosphate-buffered saline, formamidopyrimidine-DNA glycosylase, and endonuclease-III, respectively, at 50 mM H2O2. Exposures to 0.5 mM H2O2 (100-fold dilution from recommended lice treatment concentration) induced oxidative DNA damage in all three species of sea urchins, suggesting interspecific differences in vulnerabilities to DNA damage and/or DNA repair mechanisms. Understanding impacts of environmental genotoxicants requires understanding species-specific susceptibilities to DNA damage, which can impact long-term stability in sea urchin populations in proximity to aquaculture farms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Early online date20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Toxicology
  • Genetics


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