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EROD activity, chromosomal damage, and oxidative stress in response to contaminants exposure in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings from Great Lakes Areas of Concern

November 29, 2017

Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, nestlings were collected from 60 sites in the Great Lakes, which included multiple sites within 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) and six sites not listed as AOCs from 2010 to 2014. Nestlings, approximately 12 days-of-age, were evaluated for ethoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase (EROD) activity, chromosomal damage, and six measures of oxidative stress. Data on each of these biomarkers were divided into four equal numbered groups from the highest to lowest values and the groups were compared to contaminant concentrations using multivariate analysis. Contaminant concentrations, from the same nestlings, included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and 17 elements. Alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (aPAHs) and parent PAHs (pPAHs) were measured in pooled nestling dietary samples. Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and pesticides were measured in sibling eggs. Concentrations of aPAHs, pPAHs, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, and PCBs, in that order, were the major contributors to the significant differences between the lowest and highest EROD activities; PFCs, PBDEs, the remaining pesticides, and all elements were of secondary importance. The four categories of chromosomal damage did not separate out well based on the contaminants measured. Concentrations of aPAHs, pPAHs, heptachlor, PCBs, chlordane, and dieldrin were the major contributors to the significant differences between the lowest and highest activities of two oxidative stress measures, total sulfhydryl (TSH) activity and protein bound sulfhydryl (PBSH) activity. The four categories of thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), reduced glutathione (GSH), and the ratio of GSSG/GSH did not separate well based on the contaminants measured.