Sensitivity of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) early life stages to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin and 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
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Abstract

The aquatic food web of the Great Lakes has been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) since the mid-20th century. Threats of PCB exposures to long-lived species of fish, such as lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), have been uncertain because of a lack of information on the relative sensitivity of the species. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the sensitivity of early–life stage lake sturgeon to 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126) or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure. Mortality, growth, morphological and tissue pathologies, swimming performance, and activity levels were used as assessment endpoints. Pericardial and yolk sac edema, tubular heart, yolk sac hemorrhaging, and small size were the most commonly observed pathologies in both TCDD and PCB-126 exposures, beginning as early as 4 d postfertilization, with many of these pathologies occurring in a dose-dependent manner. Median lethal doses for PCB-126 and TCDD in lake sturgeon were 5.4 ng/g egg (95% confidence interval, 3.9–7.4 ng/g egg) and 0.61 ng/g egg (0.47–0.82 ng/g egg), respectively. The resulting relative potency factor for PCB-126 (0.11) was greater than the World Health Organization estimate for fish (toxic equivalency factor = 0.005), suggesting that current risk assessments may underestimate PCB toxicity toward lake sturgeon. Swimming activity and endurance were reduced in lake sturgeon survivors from the median lethal doses at 60 d postfertilization. Threshold and median toxicity values indicate that lake sturgeon, like other Acipenser species, are more sensitive to PCB and TCDD than the other genus of sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus, found in North America. Indeed, lake sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes and elsewhere are susceptible to PCB/TCDD-induced developmental toxicity in embryos and reductions in swimming performance.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sensitivity of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) early life stages to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin and 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.3614
Volume 36
Issue 4
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 988
Last page 998