This study investigates, for the first time, the intestinal responses of European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax chronically exposed to microplastics through ingestion. Fish (n = 162) were fed with 3 different treatment diets for 90 days: control, native polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polluted polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pellets. Intestines were fixed and processed for histological analysis using standard techniques. Histopathological alterations were examined using a score value (from 0 to 4). The distal part of intestine in all samples proved to be the most affected by pathological alterations, showing a gradual change varying from moderate to severe related to exposure times. The histological picture that characterizes both groups especially after 90 days of exposure, suggests that the intestinal functions can be in some cases totally compromised.
The worst condition is increasingly evident in the distal intestine of fish fed with polluted PVC pellets respect to control groups (p < 0.05) to different exposure times.
These first results underline the need to assess the impact of increasing microplastics pollution on the marine trophic web.
Cristina Pedà, Letteria Caccamo, Maria Cristina Fossi and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 212, Pages 251–256, May 2016