Key Laboratory of Tropical Biological Resources of Ministry of Education, Hainan University, Haikou, Hainan, 570228, China; Department of Aquaculture, College of Marine Sciences, Hainan University, Haikou, Hainan, 570228, China. Electronic address: [Email]
DCOIT (4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one) is the main component of SeaNine-211, a new antifouling agent that replaces tributyltin to prevent the growth of undesirable organisms on ships. There have been some studies on the toxicity of DCOIT, but the mechanism of DCOIT's toxicity to crustaceans still requires elucidation. This study examined the chronic toxicity (4 weeks) of 0, 3, 15, and 30 μg/L DCOIT to the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) from the aspects of growth and physiological and histological changes in the hepatopancreas and gills. A transcriptomic analysis was performed on the hepatopancreas to reveal the underlying mechanism of DCOIT in shrimp. The exposure to 30 μg/L DCOIT significantly reduced the survival and weight gain of L. vannamei. High Na+/K+-ATPase activity and melanin deposition were found in the gills after 4 weeks of 15 μg/L or 30 μg/L DCOIT exposure. The highest concentration of DCOIT (30 μg/L) induced changes in hepatopancreatic morphology and metabolism, including high anaerobic respiration and the accumulation of triglycerides. Compared with the exposure to 3 μg/L DCOIT, shrimp exposed to 15 μg/L DCOIT showed more differentially expressed genes (DEGs) than those in the control, and these DEGs were involved in biological processes such as starch and sucrose metabolism and choline metabolism in cancer. The findings of this study indicate that L. vannamei is sensitive to the antifouling agent DCOIT and that DCOIT can induce altered gene expression at a concentration of 15 μg/L and can interfere with shrimp metabolism, growth and survival at 30 μg/L.