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Investigating endocrine and physiological parameters of captive American kestrels exposed by diet to selected organophosphate flame retardants

January 1, 2015

Organophosphate triesters are high production volume additive flame retardants (OPFRs) and plasticizers. Shown to accumulate in abiotic and biotic environmental compartments, little is known about the risks they pose. Captive adult male American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were fed the same dose (22 ng OPFR/g kestrel/d) daily (21 d) of tris(2- butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP), or tris(1,2-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP). Concentrations were undetected in tissues (renal, hepatic), suggesting rapid metabolism. There were no changes in glutathione status, indicators of hepatic oxidative status, or the cholinergic system (i.e., cerebrum, plasma cholinesterases; cerebrum muscarinic, nicotinic receptors). Modest changes occurred in hepatocyte integrity and function (clinical chemistry). Significant effects on plasma free triiodothyronine (FT3) concentrations occurred with exposure to TBOEP, TCEP, TCIPP, and TDCIPP; TBOEP and TCEP had additional overall effects on free thyroxine (FT4), whereas TDCIPP also influenced total thyroxine (TT4). Relative increases (32%−96%) in circulating FT3, TT3, FT4, and/or TT4 were variable with each OPFR at 7 d exposure, but limited thereafter, which was likely maintained through decreased thyroid gland activity and increased hepatic deiodinase activity. The observed physiological and endocrine effects occurred at environmentally relevant concentrations and suggest parent OPFRs or metabolites may have been present despite rapid degradation.