We compared the toxicokinetics of methylmercury in captive common loon chicks during two time intervals to assess the impact of feather growth on the kinetics of mercury. We also determined the oral bioavailability of methylmercury during these trials to test for age-related changes. The blood concentration-time curves for individuals dosed during feather development (initiated 35 days post hatch) were best described by a one-compartment toxicokinetic model with an elimination half-life of 3 days. The data for birds dosed following completion of feather growth (84 days post hatch) were best fitted by a two-compartment elimination model that includes an initial rapid distribution phase with a half-life of 0.9 days, followed by a slow elimination phase with a half-life of 116 days. We determined the oral bioavailability of methylmercury during the first dosing interval by comparing the ratios of the area under the blood concentration-time curves (AUC0→∞) for orally and intravenously dosed chicks. The oral bioavailability of methylmercury during the first dosing period was 0.83. We also determined bioavailability during both dosing periods using a second measure because of irregularities with intravenous results in the second period. This second bioavailability measure estimated the percentage of the dose that was deposited in the blood volume (f), and the results show that there was no difference in bioavailability among dosing periods. The results of this study highlight the importance of feather growth on the toxicokinetics of methylmercury.
Additional publication details
The oral bioavailability and toxicokinetics of methylmercury in common loon (Gavia immer) chicks
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology