Quantitative changes in the digestive gland cells of the snail Helix aspersa after exposure to the fungicide copper oxychloride
This study investigated the relationship between accumulated copper in the digestive gland of Helix aspersa, after exposure to the fungicide copper oxychloride, and quantitative changes in the digestive gland cells of this snail. Snails were exposed to 80 and 240μgg-1 copper oxychloride for 6 weeks. Histological sections of digestive glands were analyzed by means of computer-assisted image analysis. Results indicate that copper is strongly accumulated in the digestive gland and that this organ is the main site of copper accumulation in the snail body. Also, as a result of copper accumulation in the digestive gland, measurable changes in epithelium cell height and area of this organ occur. In the case of cell height, these changes are dose-related. It is concluded that changes in digestive gland cells, as a result of copper oxychloride exposure, may possibly serve as biomarkers of exposure to this fungicide. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.