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Adult crayfish (Cambarus diogenes diogenes) exposed to 8.41 ± 0.17 μg silver/L (19.4% as Ag+) in moderately hard freshwater under flow-through conditions for 96 h exhibited ionoregulatory disturbance, elevated metabolic ammonia (Tamm) production and substantial silver accumulation in the gills, hemolymph, and hepatopancreas. The ionoregulatory disturbance included both a generally reduced unidirectional Na1 influx and an increased unidirectional Na+ efflux, leading to a substantial net loss of Na+ from the silver-exposed crayfish. The Na+ uptake in silver-exposed crayfish differed overall from controls, while the increased Na+ efflux recovered to control values 48 h into the 96 h of exposure. The general inhibition of Na+ uptake could be explained by a reduced sodium/potassium-adenosine triphosphatase (Na/K-ATPase) activity in terminally obtained gill samples from the silver exposed crayfish. The silver-induced effect on Na+ uptake and loss translated to reduced hemolymph Na+ concentrations but not significantly reduced hemolymph Cl- concentrations. Hemolymph Tamm and Tamm efflux both increased in silver-exposed crayfish, indicating an increased metabolic Tamm production. The present study demonstrates that the toxic mechanism of waterborne silver exposure in freshwater crayfish resembles that of freshwater teleost fish. The crayfish might therefore be a useful model system for extending current environmental regulatory strategies, currently based on teleost fish, to invertebrates.


This article was originally published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 21(2): 369-374. © 2002 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry