Aquat Toxicol 2017 Oct 26;191:226-235. Epub 2017 Aug 26.
Department of Biological Sciences, Western Michigan University, 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Box 5410, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008, United States. Electronic address:
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a common biocide used in cosmetic and industrial settings. Studies have demonstrated that MIT is a human sensitizer, to the extent that in 2013 MIT was named allergen of the year. Recently, we showed that MIT exposure in Xenopus laevis (the African clawed frog) inhibits wound healing and tail regeneration. However, it is unknown whether MIT affects these processes in other animals. Here, we investigated the effects of MIT exposure in planaria-non-parasitic freshwater flatworms able to regenerate all tissues after injury. Using a common research strain of Dugesia japonica, we determined that intact planarians exposed to 15μM MIT displayed both neuromuscular and epithelial-integrity defects. Furthermore, regenerating (head and tail) fragments exposed to 15μM MIT failed to close wounds or had significantly delayed wound healing. Planarian wounds normally close within 1h after injury. However, most MIT-exposed animals retained open wounds at 24h and subsequently died, and those few animals that were able to undergo delayed wound healing without dying exhibited abnormal regeneration. For instance, head regeneration was severely delayed or inhibited, with anterior structures such as eyes failing to form in newly produced tissues. These data suggest that MIT directly affects both wound healing and regeneration in planarians. Next, we investigated the ability of thiol-containing antioxidants to rescue planarian wound closure during MIT exposure. The data reveal both n-acetyl cysteine and glutathione were each able to fully rescue MIT inhibition of wound healing. Lastly, we established MIT toxicity levels by determining the LC of 5 different planarian species: D. japonica, Schmidtea mediterranea, Girardia tigrina, Girardia dorotocephala, and Phagocata gracilis. Our LC data revealed that concentrations as low as 39μM (4.5ppm) are lethal to planarians, with concentrations of just 5μM inhibiting wound healing, and suggest that phylogeny is predictive of species toxicity levels. Together these results indicate MIT may have broad wound healing effects on aquatic species in general and are not limited to X. laevis alone. Future studies should investigate the impact of MIT on wound healing in other organisms, including non-aquatic organisms and mammals.