The concentrations of butyltin (summation operatorBT=TBT+DBT+MBT) and mercury (Hg) were determined in the liver of 35 harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), which were found dead along the coastlines or caught as by-catch in the Danish North Sea and the Inner Danish waters. In addition, three harbour porpoises hunted in West Greenland were analysed. High levels of butyltin and mercury, within the range of 68-4605 mg BT/kg ww and 0.22-92 mg Hg/kg ww, were found in the liver of the Danish harbour porpoises and both substances tend to accumulate with age. The levels in the harbour porpoise from West Greenland were 2.0-18 mg BT/kg ww and 6.3-6.9 mg Hg/kg ww, respectively. The concentrations of butyltin and mercury were both found to be higher in stranded than in by-caught harbour porpoises but only the butyltin concentration was significantly higher in stranded porpoises in the age group 1-5 years. These substances are suspected of inducing adverse effects on immune and endocrine systems in mammals and they may thereby pose a threat to the animals. This study suggests that organotin compounds are also important, when assessing the risks of contaminants on the health and viability of harbour porpoises in Danish waters.
A number of systems that generate oxygen free radicals and reactive aldehydic species are activated by excessive ethanol consumption. Recent studies from human alcoholics and from experimental animals have indicated that acetaldehyde and aldehydic products of lipid peroxidation, which are generated in such processes, can bind to proteins forming stable adducts. Adduct formation may lead to several adverse consequences, such as interference with protein function, stimulation of fibrogenesis, and induction of immune responses. The presence of protein adducts in the centrilobular region of the liver in alcohol abusers with an early phase of histological liver damage indicates that adduct formation is one of the key events in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease. Dietary supplementation with fat and/or iron strikingly increases the amount of aldehyde-derived epitopes in the liver together with promotion of fibrogenesis.
Concentrations of total mercury ([THg]) and selenium ([TSe]) were measured in several tissue compartments in Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups; in addition we determined specific compartment and body burdens of THg. Compartmental and body burdens were calculated by multiplying specific compartment fresh weight by the [THg] (summing compartment burdens equals body burden). In all 6 pup tissue sets (1) highest [THg] was in hair, (2) lowest [THg] was in bone, and (3) pelt, muscle and liver burdens contributed the top three highest percentages of THg body burden. In 5 of 6 pups the Se:Hg molar ratios among compartments ranged from 0.9 to 43.0. The pup with the highest hair [THg] had Se:Hg molar ratios in 9 of 14 compartments that were ? 0.7 potentially indicating an inadequate [TSe] relative to [THg].
Cites: Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2001 Nov;41(4):403-911598777
Cites: Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2002 Dec;133(4):527-3612458181
Cites: Mar Pollut Bull. 2002 Oct;44(10):1130-512474974
Cites: Toxicol Lett. 2003 Jan 31;137(1-2):103-1012505436
Blubber was analyzed for a wide range of contaminants from five sub-adult and eight adult male ringed seals sampled in 2004, namely, for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), toxaphenes, chlordanes, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs). Contaminant levels were compared to previously sampled animals from the same area, as well as data from literature for other arctic wildlife species from a wide variety of locations. Ringed seals sampled in 2004 showed 50-90% lower levels of legacy contaminants such as PCBs and chlorinated pesticides compared to animals sampled in 1996 of similar age (14 sub-adults and 7 adult males), indicating that the decline of chlorinated contaminants observed during the 1990s in a variety of arctic wildlife species is continuing into the 21st century. The results also indicated that PBDE declined in ringed seals; levels in 2004 were about 70-80% lower than in animals sampled in 1998. This is one of the first observations of reduced exposure to these compounds and might be a first indication that restrictions of production and use of these contaminants have resulted in lower exposures in the Arctic. The PCB pattern shifted toward the less chlorinated (i.e., less persistent) PCBs, especially in adult ringed seals, possibly as a result of reduced overall contaminant exposures and a consequently lower cytochrome P-450 (CYP) induction, which results in a slower metabolism of less persistent PCBs. The overall effect would be relative increases in the lower chlorinated PCBs and a relative decreases in the higher chlorinated PCB. Possibly due to low exposure and consequent low induction levels, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation (EROD) activity proved to be a poor biomarker for contaminant exposure in ringed seals in the present study. The close negative correlation (r(2) = 70.9%)between EROD activity and percent blubber indicates that CYP might respond to increased bioavailability of the contaminant mixtures when they are mobilized from blubber during periods of reduced food intake.
Mercury (total and methyl), cadmium and selenium concentrations were measured in liver, kidney and brain tissue from mink trapped from the Yukon Territory from 2001-2002. None of these metals was found at levels of toxicological concern. Total mercury averaged 0.66, 0.92 and 0.22 microg g-1 in mink kidney, liver and brain tissue respectively, while methyl mercury averaged 0.77, 0.85 and 0.21 microg g-1 in the same tissues. Selenium averaged 2.07, 1.40 and 0.39 microg g-1 in mink kidney, liver and brain tissue, while cadmium was only measured in kidneys and averaged 0.22 microg g-1. All element concentrations are presented on a wet weight basis. Concentrations of total mercury in all tissues were significantly higher in female than male mink, possibly reflecting proportionally greater food consumption by the smaller females. Total mercury concentrations were inversely related to the proportion of mercury present as methylmercury, and positively related to concentrations of selenium, consistent with increasing demethylation of methylmercury, and the formation of mercuric selenide as total concentrations of mercury increased. This relationship was seen most strongly in mink liver, less so in kidneys and not at all in brains where most of the mercury was maintained in the methyl form. There did not appear to be any geographical areas in which mink had obviously higher concentrations of mercury, and there was frequently a relatively large range of mercury levels found in mink from a given trapline. Mink diet may be a factor in this variation. Local environmental levels of cadmium were not reflected in cadmium concentrations in mink tissues. Mercury, cadmium and selenium do not appear to constitute environmental hazards to mink in the Yukon.
Mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in ringed seal liver and kidney were compared from 11 locations across the Arctic, from Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard to the White Sea. Adult and sub adult seals were evaluated separately to account for age accumulations of Hg and Cd. Only recently (1995-2001) collected samples were included to minimize influence of changes over time. The Hg and Cd concentrations in ringed seal liver and kidney differed significantly among the studied locations. The Hg concentrations in liver of ringed seals was highest in the western Canadian Arctic locations, while Cd in liver was highest in the eastern Canadian and West Greenland locations. In general, Hg and Cd concentrations in liver and kidney were significantly higher in adult ringed seals than in sub adults and the circumpolar patterns were most pronounced in adult ringed seals. The Hg and Cd concentrations in kidney of ringed seals in general supported the geographical pattern found in livers although the coverage was more limited. The most likely explanation for the observed circumpolar pattern appears mainly to be related to natural geological differences in mineral (Hg and Cd) among regions.
Beluga whales have been hunted for food by Native People in the Canadian Arctic since prehistoric time. Here we report the results of analyses of total mercury in samples of liver, kidney, muscle and muktuk from collections over the period 1981-2002. We compare these results with human consumption guidelines and examine temporal and geographic variation. Liver has been analyzed more frequently than other organs and it has been used as the indicator organ. Mercury accumulates in the liver of the whales over time so that the whale ages are usually linked statistically to their levels of mercury in liver. Virtually all the samples of 566 animals analyzed contained mercury in liver at concentrations higher than the Canadian consumption guideline of 0.5 microg g-1 (wet weight) for fish. (There is no regulatory guideline for concentrations in marine mammals in Canada.) Samples from locations in the Mackenzie Delta in the western Canadian Arctic and from Pangnirtung in the eastern Canadian Arctic were obtained more often than from other location and these offered the best chances to determine whether levels have changed over time. Statistical outlier points were removed and the regressions of (ln) mercury in liver on age were used to calculate the level of mercury in whales of age 13.1 years in order to compare age-adjusted levels at different locations. These age-adjusted levels and also the slopes of regressions suggested that levels have increased in the Mackenzie Delta over the sampling period although not in a simple linear fashion. Other locations had fewer collections, generally spread over fewer years. Some of them indicated differences between sampling times but we could not establish whether these differences were simply temporal variation or whether they were segments of a consistent trend. For example, the levels in whales from Arviat were considerably higher in 1999 than in 1984 but we have only two samples. Similarly, samples from Iqaluit in 1994 exceeded considerably those in 1993 and the interval seems too short to reflect any regional temporal trend and more likely represent an extreme case of year-to-year variation. Previous analyses of data from geographically distinct groups had suggested that whales in the western Canadian Arctic had higher levels of mercury than those from the eastern Canadian Arctic. The present analysis suggests that such regional differences have diminished and are no longer statistically significant. No site has indicated significant decreases in more recent samples. The levels of total mercury in the most analyzed organs fell in the order of liver (highest levels), kidney, muscle and muktuk (lowest level). While muktuk had the lowest level of the organs most frequently analyzed, it is the preferred food item from these whales and it still exceeded the consumption guideline in most instances.
High hepatic copper concentrations have been reported in several liver disorders. We report six Native Canadian children with severe chronic cholestatic liver disease, who had excess hepatic copper and zinc.
The children, aged 22 months to 8 years, came from northern Ontario, Canada. All were referred for possible liver transplantation because of end-stage liver disease. We examined explanted liver samples (or liver biopsy material in one case) by scanning transmission electronmicroscopic (STEM) X-ray elemental microanalysis and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Samples from four controls (two with no liver pathology, one with biliary atresia, and one with Wilson's disease) were also analysed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
The explanted livers showed similar distinctive signs of advanced biliary cirrhosis, and on electronmicroscopy there were dense deposits in enlarged lysosomes and in cytoplasm. Hepatic copper concentrations were many times higher in the five patients with measurements (47.6-56.9 microgram/g dry weight) than in two samples of normal control liver tissue (2.3 and 2.9 microgram/g). Similarly, hepatic zinc concentrations were many times higher in the patients than in controls (104-128 vs 1.9-3.2 microgram/g dry weight).
The excess copper may be due to chronic cholestasis but the excess zinc is unexplained. Since three of the patients are related (shared grandparents), a genetic disorder of metal metabolism is possible, but we cannot exclude environmental factors.
Comment In: Lancet. 1996 Mar 30;347(9005):845-68622385
Comment In: Lancet. 1996 May 11;347(9011):13318622523
Generation of protein adducts with malondialdehyde and acetaldehyde in muscles with predominantly type I or type II fibers in rats exposed to ethanol and the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor cyanamide.
BACKGROUND: Alcoholic myopathy is known to primarily affect type II muscle fibers (glycolytic, fast-twitch, anaerobic), whereas type I fibers (oxidative, slow-twitch, aerobic) are relatively protected. OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether aldehyde-derived adducts of proteins with malondialdehyde and acetaldehyde are formed in muscle of rats as a result of acute exposure to ethanol and acetaldehyde. The differences between type I muscle, type II muscle, and liver tissue were also assessed. DESIGN: The formation and distribution of malondialdehyde- and acetaldehyde-protein adducts were studied with immunohistochemistry in soleus (type I) muscle, plantaris (type II) muscle, and liver in 4 groups of rats. The different groups were administered saline (control), cyanamide (an acetaldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor), ethanol, and cyanamide + ethanol. RESULTS: Treatment of rats with ethanol and cyanamide + ethanol increased the amount of aldehyde-derived protein adducts in both soleus and plantaris muscle. The greatest responses in malondialdehyde-protein and acetaldehyde-protein adducts were observed in plantaris muscle, in which the effect of alcohol was further potentiated by cyanamide pretreatment. Malondialdehyde- and acetaldehyde-protein adducts were also found in liver specimens from rats treated with ethanol and ethanol + cyanamide; the most abundant amounts were found in rats given cyanamide pretreatment. CONCLUSIONS: Acute ethanol administration increases protein adducts with malondialdehyde and acetaldehyde, primarily in type II muscle. This may be associated with the increased susceptibility of anaerobic muscle to alcohol toxicity. Higher acetaldehyde concentrations exacerbate adduct formation, especially in type II-predominant muscles. The present findings are relevant to studies on the pathogenesis of alcohol-induced myopathy.