Tissue and Cellular Alterations in Asian Clam (potamocorbula Amurensis) from San Francisco Bay: Toxicological Indicators of Exposure and Effect?


The US Geological Survey has reported the presence of a metal contamination gradient in clam tissues, decreased condition indices, and irregular reproductive patterns have been reported in the Asian clam, Potamocorbula amurensis, from San Francisco Bay. If metals are driving the observed patterns in the field, then biomarkers of exposure, and possibly deleterious effect, should show a corresponding gradient. In this study, biomarkers from sub-cellular to tissue levels of biological organization were assessed in P. amurensis collected from the Bay or exposed to cadmium in the laboratory. Cellular and tissue alterations were assessed using histopathology and enzyme histochemistry (EH). Alterations in the ovary, testis, kidney, and gill tissues were most common at the most contaminated station when data were averaged over a 12-month sampling period. EH analysis indicated decreased active transport, energy status, and glucose oxidation in kidney and digestive gland at the most contaminated site which may indicate a decreased potential for growth. Ovarian lesions observed in feral Asian clams were experimentally induced in healthy clams by cadmium exposure in laboratory exposures. Our results suggest a contaminant etiology for tissue alterations.


Mathematics and Statistics

Keywords and Phrases

Asian calm; San Fransisco Bay; Cadmium; Exposure; Effect

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2000 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2000