The consistent cold temperatures and large amount of precipitation in the Olympic and Cascade ranges of Washington State are thought to enhance atmospheric deposition of contaminants. However, little is known about contaminant levels in organisms residing in these remote high elevation lakes. We measured total mercury and 28 organochlorine compounds in trout collected from 14 remote lakes in the Olympic, Mt. Rainer, and North Cascades National Parks. Mercury was detected in trout from all lakes sampled (15 to 262 ??g/kg ww), while two organochlorines, total polychlorinated biphenyls (tPCB) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), were also detected in these fish tissues (<25 ??g/kg ww). In sediments, organochlorine levels were below detection, while median total and methyl mercury were 30.4 and 0.34 ??g/ kg dry weight (ww), respectively. Using fish from two lakes, representing different contaminant loading levels (Wilcox lake: high; Skymo lake: low), we examined transcriptional response in the liver using a custom-made low-density targeted rainbow trout cDNA microarray. We detected significant differences in liver transcriptional response, including significant changes in metabolic, endocrine, and immune-related genes, in fish collected from Wilcox Lake compared to Skymo Lake. Overall, our results suggest that local urban areas contribute to the observed contaminant patterns in these high elevation lakes, while the transcriptional changes point to a biological response associated with exposure to these contaminants in fish. Specifically, the gene expression pattern leads us to hypothesize a role for mercury in disrupting the metabolic and reproductive pathways in fish from high elevation lakes in western Washington. ?? 2007 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Tissue contaminants and associated transcriptional response in trout liver from high elevation lakes of Washington