[en] Methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) can be found at elevated concentrations in blood of marine mammals and both display modulatory effects on the immune system. Whereas mercury (Hg)-Se antagonism in liver of marine mammals is well known, the protective role of Se against Hg immunotoxicity in marine mammals has been poorly described. We propose here an in vitro approach using combined Hg and Se in vitro exposure of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). PBMCs were isolated from the blood of 10 harbor seals and exposed to environmental concentrations of MeHg (1µM) and selenite or selenomethionine (5µM), respectively inorganic and organic forms of Se. MeHg leaded to a decrease of lymphocyte proliferation, to an increase of cells with compromised mitochondrial membrane potentials and cell death. Preliminary results evidenced that none of the two Se forms had a protective effect against MeHg toxicity, although cells were slightly stimulated by Se alone. Therefore MeHg expresses its toxicity among blood circulating lymphocytes in presence or absence of selenite or selenomethionine.
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Dupont, Aurélie ; Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie