Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 25–34 | Cite as

Impacts of UV-B radiation on short-term cultures of sea urchin coelomocytes

  • V. MatrangaEmail author
  • A. Pinsino
  • M. Celi
  • G. Di Bella
  • A. Natoli
Research Article


Three specialized cell types constitute the heterogeneous population present in the coelomic cavity fluid of sea urchins. The list includes: phagocytes, which undergo a stress-induced petaloid-filopodial transition, white or red amoebocytes and vibratile cells. As a whole, they act as the immune defense system of the sea urchin and respond to environmental and experimental challenge triggering specific stress markers. Here we extended our studies on coelomocytes short-term cultures by describing the morphology and occurrence of each cell type and analyzing their response to UV-B radiation at the biochemical level and with respect to DNA damage. The effects of different doses, ranging from 500 to 2,000 J/m2, on cells, which were then cultured in vitro for 1–6 h were tested. As early as 1 h after irradiation we found an increase in the levels of the heat shock protein70 (hsp) stress marker. A peak at 1,000 J/m2 corresponding to a 3.4-fold hsp70 increase over the levels of control coelomocytes was observed. Concurrently, we found an increase in the number of apoptotic nuclei detected by Hoechst staining, which varied from 7.1 to 15.6% in cells that were exposed to 500 and 2,000 J/m2, respectively. On the basis of our findings we confirm sea urchin coelomocytes as a sensitive cell culture system for environmental studies and propose their use for the analysis on the effects of UV-B radiation.


Hsp70 Level Apoptotic Nucleus Coelomic Fluid Fresh Preparation Anticoagulant Solution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research has been supported by the EU program UV-TOX to V. Matranga, Contract No. EVK3-CT-1999-00005. Partial support was also obtained by the ASI Contract No. I/R/073/01. We are grateful to all the other members of the group for their helpful contributions and suggestions, and the stimulating working environment. The authors thank Mr. Davide Comacchio for assistance in maintenance of sea urchins in aquaria.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Matranga
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Pinsino
    • 1
  • M. Celi
    • 1
  • G. Di Bella
    • 1
  • A. Natoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di Biomedicina e Immunologia Molecolare “Alberto Monroy”PalermoItaly

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