Cement kiln dusts are made of a complex mixture of elements. We have evaluated the potential negative impact of those dusts on the immune system of the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. We specifically studied cell viability and phagocytic activity of coelomocytes extruded during electrical stimulation. We used two modes of exposures: in vitro, and soil incubation using OECD artificial soil media. Extruded coelomocytes were exposed 18 h in vitro to 10, 100, and 500 mg L-1 of cement kiln dust particles. The phagocytosis and the cell viability were determined using a double-laser-flow acquisition cytometry system. Using the double laser allows us to use a dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) marker to discriminate the biological cells from the cement kiln dusts. Dead cells are marked using propidium iodide (PI). All three exposure levels showed highly significant impacts on cell viability and phagocytic activity. The in vivo soil incubation was performed using 10, 100, and 1000 mg kg-1 of cement kiln dusts incorporated into the OECD media. Here, to discriminate the biological cells from the mineral dusts we only needed to use PI. The day-to-day variability of the in vivo assay was high and although we can observe an overall reduction in cell viability at the highest concentration tested, no statistically significant effects could be observed on either cell viability or phagocytosis. Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety59, no. 1 (10 June 2004): 10–16.