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Evidence of Spatially Extensive Resistance to PCBs in an Anadromous Fish of the Hudson River
Zhanpeng Yuan, Simon Courtenay, R. Christopher Chambers and Isaac Wirgin
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 114, No. 1 (Jan., 2006), pp. 77-84
Published by: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3436631
Page Count: 8
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Populations of organisms that are chronically exposed to high levels of chemical contaminants may not suffer the same sublethal or lethal effects as naive populations, a phenomenon called resistance. Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) from the Hudson River, New York, are exposed to high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and bioaccumulate polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). They have developed resistance to PCBs and PCDDs but not to PAHs. Resistance is largely heritable and manifests at early-life-stage toxic end points and in inducibility of cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) mRNA expression. Because CYP1A induction is activated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) pathway, as are most toxic responses to these compounds, we sought to determine the geographic extent of resistance to CYP1A mRNA induction by PCBs in the Hudson River tomcod population. Samples of young-of-the-year tomcod were collected from seven locales in the Hudson River, extending from the Battery at river mile 1 (RM 1) to RM 90, and from the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, Canada. Laboratory-reared offspring of tomcod adults from Newark Bay, in the western portion of the Hudson River estuary, were also used in this study. Fish were partially depurated in clean water and intraperitoneally injected with 10 ppm coplanar PCB-77, 10 ppm benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), or corn oil vehicle, and levels of CYP1A mRNA were determined. CYP1A was significantly inducible by treatment with BaP in tomcod from the Miramichi River, from laboratory-spawned offspring of Newark Bay origin, and from all Hudson River sites spanning 90 miles of river. In contrast, only tomcod from the Miramichi River displayed significantly induced CYP1A mRNA expression when treated with PCB-77. Our results suggest that the population of tomcod from throughout the Hudson River estuary has developed resistance to CYP1A inducibility and probably other toxicities mediated by the AHR pathway. Tomcod from the Hudson River may represent the most geographically expansive population of vertebrates with resistance to chemical pollutants that has been characterized.
Environmental Health Perspectives © 2006 The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences