The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is a top predator in Arctic marine ecosystems, and the species bioaccumulates high levels of biomagnifying persistent organic pollutants (POP). In teleost fish, as well as in marine mammals and seabirds, legacy POP have been shown to interfere with the vitamin A and vitamin E homeostasis. Thus, there is the potential for negative health effects from these legacy compounds in Greenland sharks. In the present study we examined associations among plasma levels of legacy POP and plasma vitamin A (retinol [RET], retinyl palmitate [RPA]) and vitamin E (a-tocopherol [a-TOC]) in Greenland sharks from Svalbard, Norway. Plasma levels of POP were on average higher than the hepatic levels previously reported in Greenland sharks from Iceland and Davis Strait, Canada. Levels were also higher than the plasma levels reported in Arctic marine mammals. DDTs (mean 8,069 ng/g l.w., range: 900-59,707 ng/g l.w.), PCBs (mean 5,766 ng/g l.w., range 1344-16,106 ng/g l.w.) and chlordanes (mean 1,551 ng/g l.w., range: 323-5,756 ng/g l.w.) had the highest concentrations among the POP groups studied. There were significant inverse relationships between RET concentrations and the concentrations of the dioxin-like compounds PCB-118 and PCB-156/171, and the non-dioxin-like compounds PCB-99 and PCB-128. There were also significant inverse relationships between RPA and 18 of the 38 POP compounds measured. Furthermore, there were significant positive associations between a-TOC and 13 of the 27 PCB congeners. The study suggests that these vitamin systems can be affected by the relatively high POP concentrations exhibited by Greenland sharks at Svalbard. However, the present study is correlative and thus the potential interplay between POP and vitamin dynamics of Greenland sharks must be interpreted cautiously, pending further research on this issue among elasmobranchs.
The impact of dietary organochlorine (OC) exposure on thyroid gland pathology was studied in farmed male Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). The exposed group (n=16) was fed a diet based on wild minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber as a main fat source in order to mimic the exposure to OC cocktails in the Artic environment. This resulted in an exposure of approximately 17 microg Sigma OC/kg day and a Sigma OC residue adipose tissue and liver concentration of 1700 and 4470 ng/gl.w., respectively, after 16 months of exposure. Control foxes (n=13) were fed a diet with pork (Sus scrofa) fat as a main fat source containing significantly lower OC concentrations. The food composition fed to the control and exposed group was standardized for nutrient contents. Four OC-related histopathological changes were found: (1) flat-epithelial-cell true thyroid cysts (TC) characterized by neutral content; (2) remnants of simple squamous epithelial-cell embryonic ducts containing neutral debris (EDN); (3) remnants of stratified squamous epithelial-cell embryonic ducts containing acid mucins often accompanied with debris of leukocyte inflammatory nature (EDM) and (4) disseminated thyroid C-cell hyperplasia (HPC). Of these, the prevalence of TC, EDN and HPC was significantly highest in the exposed group (chi(2) test: all p
Levels of persistent organic pollutants (POP), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), are high in many Arctic top predators, including the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The aim of this study was to examine possible endocrine-disruptive effects of dietary POP exposure in male juvenile Arctic foxes in a controlled exposure experiment. The study was conducted using domesticated farmed blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) as a model species. Two groups of newly weaned male foxes received a diet supplemented with either minke whale (Baleneoptera acutorostrata) blubber that was naturally contaminated with POP (exposed group, n?=?5 or 21), or pork (Sus scrofa) fat (control group, n?=?5 or 21). When the foxes were 6 mo old and had received the 2 diets for approximately 4 mo (147 d), effects of the dietary exposure to POP on plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), thyroid hormones (TH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), retinol (vitamin A), and tocopherol (viramin E) were examined. At sampling, the total body concentrations of 104 PCB congeners were 0.1 ± 0.03 µg/g lipid weight (l.w.; n?=?5 [mean ± standard deviation]) and 1.5 ± 0.17 µg/g l.w. (n?=?5) in the control and exposed groups, respectively. Plasma testosterone concentrations in the exposed male foxes were significantly lower than in the control males, being approximately 25% of that in the exposed foxes. There were no between-treatment differences for TH, TSH, retinol, or tocopherol. The results suggest that the high POP levels experienced by costal populations of Arctic foxes, such as in Svalbard and Iceland, may result in delayed masculine maturation during adolescence. Sex hormone disruption during puberty may thus have lifetime consequences on all aspects of reproductive function in adult male foxes.