[en] Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models are mathematical models that are largely based upon the physiological characteristics of the species and the biochemical properties of the chemical of interest. They quantitatively describe and predict the kinetics of pollutants inside the body and can be of major importance for risk assessment of chemicals in marine mammals. PBPK models which consist of five compartments (liver, blubber, kidney, brain, and the rest of the body) were made for selected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in order to address the bioaccumulation of these compounds in tissues of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Harbour porpoises have relatively long life spans, are common cetaceans in the North Sea, a heavily polluted area, and are known to be very sensitive to pollution. Models developed for all compounds (some PCBs and PBDEs) were evaluated using existing datasets from the literature and from analyses performed by GC-MS, the latter being obtained from stranded porpoises in the Black Sea and the North Sea over a period of 18 years (1990–2008) to assess spatial and temporal trends in bioaccumulation of the respective PCBs and PBDEs. We demonstrate that PBPK models are a feasible computational approach that can be used as a non-destructive tool for predicting the chemical pollution status of the marine mammals.
Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - FWO ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS