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Toxicokinetics and effects of PCBs in Arctic fish: a review of studies on Arctic charr

January 1, 2006

In a series of environmentally realistic laboratory experiments, toxicokinetics and effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were studied in the Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Winter fasting and emaciation, which are common among Arctic charr living in high latitudes, resulted in a redistribution of the lipophilic PCBs from lipid-storing tissue such as the muscle, to vital organs that must be considered sensitive toward PCB (liver and brain). This redistribution was accompanied by a significant potentiation of the hepatic cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 1A biomarker response, from low activities in October (within those measured in uncontaminated charr) to a high, probably maximum, induction in May. Performance studies demonstrated a clear effect of environmentally realistic PCB levels on endocrine mechanisms, immune function, and seawater preadaptation (smoltification) in charr that had been feed deprived for several months after contamination with Aroclor 1254, whereas a high PCB dose exerted only minor, if any, effects in charr that had been fed after contamination. These results demonstrate that emaciation results in decreased dose-response relationships in fish, and indicate that arctic animals undergoing seasonal cycles of "fattening" and emaciation may be extra sensitive toward persistent, lipophilic organochlorines. Pilot studies on Arctic charr from Bjørnøya Island revealed marked CYP1A biomarker responses and an upregulation of genes involved in cellular homeostatic mechanisms in charr from Lake Ellasjøen (high PCB levels).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Toxicokinetics and effects of PCBs in Arctic fish: a review of studies on Arctic charr
Authors EH Jorgensen, M.N. Vijayan, J.-E.A. Killie, N. Aluru, O. Aas-Hansen, A. Maule
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A
Index ID 70170963
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center