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See detailXenobiotic and Immune-Relevant Molecular Biomarkers in Harbor Seals as Proxies for Pollutant Burden and Effects?
Lehnert, Kristina; Ronnenberg, Katrin; Weijs, Liesbeth et al

in Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology (in press)

Harbor seals are exposed to increasing pressure caused by anthropogenic activities in their marine environment. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and trace elements are hazardous contaminants which ... [more ▼]

Harbor seals are exposed to increasing pressure caused by anthropogenic activities in their marine environment. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and trace elements are hazardous contaminants which accumulate in tissues of harbor seals. POPs and trace elements can negatively affect the immune-system and have been reported e.g. to increase susceptibility to viral infections in seals. Biomarkers of the xenobiotic metabolism, cytokines and heat-shock-protein as cell mediators of the immune-system were established to evaluate the impact of environmental stressors on harbor seals. Harbor seals (n=54) were captured on sandbanks in the North Sea during 2009 to 2012. Medicals including hematology were performed, RNAlater blood samples were taken and analyzed using quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. Normalized transcript copy numbers were correlated to hematology and POP concentration in blood, and trace metals in blood and fur. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of Methylmercury on Harbour Seal Peripheral Blood Leucocytes In Vitro Studied by Electron Microscopy
Dupont, Aurélie; De Pauw-Gillet, Marie-Claire ULg; Schnitzler, Joseph ULg et al

in Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology (in press)

Methylmercury MeHg is highly immunotoxic and can alter the health status of the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, from the North Sea. To investigate the mechanism of MeHg-induced toxicity in harbour seal ... [more ▼]

Methylmercury MeHg is highly immunotoxic and can alter the health status of the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, from the North Sea. To investigate the mechanism of MeHg-induced toxicity in harbour seal lymphocytes, ConA-stimulated peripheral blood leucocytes were exposed in vitro to sub-lethal concentrations of MeHgCl (0.2, 1 and 2 µM) for 72h, and then analysed for their viability and ultrastructure. After 72h of incubation, cells were counted with a propidium iodide staining technique, a metabolic MTS assay was performed, and cells exposed to 1 µM MeHgCl were observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Alive cell numbers decreased with increased MeHgCl concentrations. In presence of ConA and 1µM of MeHgCl, TEM images revealed a higher frequency of apoptotic cells. Exposed cells displayed condensation of the chromatin at the nuclear membrane and mitochondrial damages. The results suggest that in vitro MeHgCl induced apoptosis in harbour seal lymphocytes through a mitochondrial pathway. [less ▲]

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See detailEndosulfan effects on Rana dalmatina tadpoles: Quantitative developmental and behavioural analysis
Lavorato, Manuela; Bernabo, Ilaria; Crescente, Antonio et al

in Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology (2013), 64(2), 253-262

Endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide that was recently labeled as a persistent organic pollutant, but it is still widely employed, particularly in developing countries. The goal of this study is to ... [more ▼]

Endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide that was recently labeled as a persistent organic pollutant, but it is still widely employed, particularly in developing countries. The goal of this study is to evaluate the acute (LC50) and chronic effects (developmental and behavioural traits) of this insecticide on Rana dalmatina tadpoles after exposure to ecologically relevant concentrations (0.005, 0.01, and 0.05 mg/L) by applying video-tracking techniques to evaluate the quantitative effect of endosulfan on amphibian behavioural patterns. The 96 h LC50 value was 0.074 mg endosulfan/L. Tadpoles chronically exposed to 0.01 and 0.05 mg endosulfan/L underwent high mortality rate, decreased larval growth, delayed development, and increased incidence of malformations, and they did not reach metamorphosis by the end of the experiment. Moreover, tadpoles exposed to these concentrations exhibited several abnormalities in swimming patterns, such as shorter distance moved, swirling, resting, and unusual use of space. The exposure to 0.005 mg endosulfan/L did not cause any significant effects on behaviour, larval growth, or development, but we observed a significant decrease in both survival and time to metamorphosis. We showed that developmental abnormalities are dose-dependent and that the pesticide effects could differ depending on the endosulfan concentration and the species tested. We also validated the hypothesis that behavioural analysis, along with the use of new analytical methods, could be a useful tool in amphibian ecotoxicological studies. [less ▲]

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See detailInterfollicular fibrosis in the thyroid of the harbour porpoise: An endocrine disruption?
Das, Krishna ULg; Vossen, Arndt; Tolley, Kristal et al

in Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology (2006), 51

Previous studies have described high levels of polychlorobiphenyls (PCB), polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE), toxaphene, ,p0-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and ,p0 ... [more ▼]

Previous studies have described high levels of polychlorobiphenyls (PCB), polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE), toxaphene, ,p0-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and ,p0-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) in the blubber of the harbour porpoise from the North Sea raising the question of a potential endocrine disruption in this species. In the present study, the thyroids of 57 harbour porpoises from the German and Danish (North and Baltic Seas), Norwegian, and Icelandic coasts have been collected for histological and immunohistological investigations. The number of follicles and the relative distribution of follicles, connective, and solid tissues (%) were quantified in the thyroid of each individual. Then, the potential relationship between the thyroid morphometry data and previously described organic compounds (namely, PCB, PBDE, toxaphene, DDT, and DDE) was investigated using factor analysis and multiple regressions. Thyroid morphology differed strongly between ampling sites. Porpoises from the German (North and Baltic Seas) and Norwegian coasts displayed a high percentage of connective tissues between 30 and 38% revealing severe interfollicular fibrosis and a high number of large follicles (diameter >200 lm). A correlation-based principal component analysis (PCA) revealed two principal components explaining 85.9% of the total variance. The variables PCB, PBDE, DDT, and DDE compounds loaded highest on PC1 whereas toxaphene compound loaded most on PC2. Our results pointed out a relationship between PC1 (PCBs, PBDE, DDE, and DDT compounds) and interfollicular fibrosis in the harbour porpoise thyroids. Such an association is not alone sufficient for a cause–effect relationship but supports the hypothesis of a contaminant-induced thyroid fibrosis in harbour porpoises raising the question of the longterm viability in highly polluted areas. [less ▲]

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