The common sea star Asterias rubens represents a key-species of the North-Eastern Atlantic macro benthic community. The cells of their immune system, known as coelomocytes, are the first line of defence against environmental hazards. Here, we report the results of investigations on the immune cells response of sea stars exposed to marine environmental pollution for long periods. We show that levels of the heat shock cognate protein 70 (HSC70) in coelomocytes from A. rubens, which were collected during a field study in the S?rfjord (North Sea, SW coast of Norway) along a contamination gradient, are directly associated with the long-term accumulation of Cd, Cu heavy metals exclusively in the tegument. Conversely, Pb and Zn accumulation in the tegument did not relate to HSC70 levels and none of the metals were found accumulated in the pyloric coeca. In addition the coelomocytes from A. rubens, collected in high and low metal impacted stations were examined by a proteomic approach using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE). By comparison of the proteomic maps, we observed that 31 protein spots differed in their relative abundance, indicating a gene expression response to the metal mixture exposure. All together, our results confirm that the echinoderm immune cells are a suitable model for the assessment of long-term exposure to environmental pollution, moreover that the increased level of HSC70 can be considered a signal of an acquired tolerance within a large spectrum of protein profile changes occurring in response to metal contamination.