Assessing mercury exposure and biomarkers in largemouth bass (Micropterus Salmoides) from a contaminated river system in California

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Gehringer, D. B., Finkelstein, M. E., Coale, K. H., Stephenson, M., & Geller, J. B. (2013). Assessing mercury exposure and biomarkers in largemouth bass (Micropterus Salmoides) from a contaminated river system in California. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 64(3), 484-493. doi:10.1007/s00244-012-9838-4
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TitleAssessing mercury exposure and biomarkers in largemouth bass (Micropterus Salmoides) from a contaminated river system in California
AuthorsD. Gehringer, M. Finkelstein, K. Coale, M. Stephenson, J. Geller
AbstractWe evaluated mercury (Hg) exposure and two biomarkers, metallothionein (MT) gene expression and histopathological alterations in a wild fish species, largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), collected from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, CA, a region polluted with Hg from historic mining activities. Hg is highly toxic and can disrupt multiple physiological systems in vertebrate species, including the immune system. Total mercury (THg) concentration in muscle tissue ranged from 0.12 to 0.98 ppm (wet weight) and was not related to body condition (r 2 = 0.005, p = 0.555). Using linear regression analysis, we found a positive relationship between MT gene expression (as determined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction) and copper, zinc, manganese, aluminum, and nickel (decreased to one variable by way of principal component analysis) (r 2 = 0.379, p = 0.044), a negative relationship with selenium (r 2 = 0.487, p = 0.017), and a weak, negative relationship with THg concentrations (r 2 = 0.337, p = 0.061). Juvenile largemouth bass collected from Hg-contaminated areas displayed histopathological features of immunosuppression compared with those collected from less contaminated areas as evidenced by significantly lower macrophage density in kidney and liver tissue (p = 0.018 and 0.020, respectively), greater trematode density in liver tissue (p = 0.014), and a greater number of adult trematodes. Our results suggest that largemouth bass may be experiencing sublethal effects from chronic Hg exposure. Furthermore, our findings illustrate the utility of examining multiple sublethal markers of effect to assess the impacts of contaminant exposure on physiological function in wild species. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Date2013
Volume64
Issue3
Start page484
End page493
ISSN0090-4341
Subjectsaluminum, biological marker, copper, manganese, mercury, metallothionein, nickel, river water, selenium, zinc, biomarker, concentration (composition), flatworm, gene expression, mercury (element), perciform, pollution exposure, river pollution, river system, animal experiment, animal tissue, article, cell density, controlled study, ecotoxicology, environmental exposure, eosinophil, granuloma, histopathology, immune deficiency, immune system, inflammation, juvenile, kidney parenchyma, largemouth bass, liver, long term exposure, macrophage, muscle level, nonhuman, polymerase chain reaction, priority journal, protozoon, quantitative analysis, river, spleen, toxicity testing, trematode, United States, water contamination, water pollution, wild species, California, Micropterus, Micropterus salmoides, Trematoda, Vertebrata
NoteFish and Fisheries, CODEN: AECTC

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