Immunosuppression of aquatic organisms exposed to elevated levels of manganese: from global to molecular perspective

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace metal for all organisms. However, in excess it causes toxic effects but the impact on aquatic environments has so far been highly overlooked. Manganese is abundant both in costal and deep sea sediments and becomes bioavailable (Mn2+) during redox conditions. This is an increasing phenomenon due to eutrophication-induced hypoxia and aggravated through the ongoing climate change. Intracellular accumulation of Mn2+ causes oxidative stress and activates evolutionary conserved pathways inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Here, studies are compiled on how excess of dissolved Mn suppresses the immune system of various aquatic organisms by adversely affecting both renewal of immunocytes and their functionality, such as phagocytosis and activation of pro-phenoloxidase. These impairments decrease the animal's bacteriostatic capacity, indicating higher susceptibility to infections. Increased distribution of pathogens, which is believed to accompany climate change, requires preserved immune sentinel functions and Mn can be crucial for the outcome of host-pathogen interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Biological Sciences (106)


  • Aquatic organisms
  • Cell death pathways
  • Climate change
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Manganese


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