Utilizing an in vitro technique, the skin of Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stouti) was shown to take up nickel from the water via a high affinity, low capacity transport pathway. Uptake was biphasic, with saturation occurring at low nickel exposure concentrations, superseded by linear, diffusive uptake at levels greater than 50 μM. In vivo exposures showed that nickel accumulated mainly in the gill, heart, and brain, representing a tissue distribution distinct from that found in teleosts. Slime on the epidermal surface was shown to significantly reduce the uptake of low concentrations (10 μM) of the metals zinc and nickel, but slime had no effect on organic nutrient (the amino acid l-alanine) absorption. At a higher metal exposure concentration (1 mM), slime was no longer protective, indicating saturation of metal-binding sites. This is the first study to show that metals can be taken up by the integument of hagfish. The ability of the skin to act as a transport epithelium may be of particular importance for a burrowing, benthic scavenger, such as hagfish, which are likely to be exposed to relatively enriched levels of metal toxicants through their habitat and lifestyle, and this may have consequences for human health through hagfish consumption.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Environmental Science and Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Feb. 2015|