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Mar Environ Res. 2008 Dec;66(5):477-86. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2008.07.001. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

Semipermeable membrane devices link site-specific contaminants to effects: Part 1 - Induction of CYP1A in rainbow trout from contaminants in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

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  • 1University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA.


Extracts from semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs) deployed on beaches in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska, were used to evaluate if complex contaminant mixtures from different sources can be distinguished by the resulting cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) activity in exposed test animals. Deployment sites included canneries, salmon hatcheries, and beaches where lingering oil remains from discharges during the 1964 earthquake or the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Other sites were selected at random to evaluate region-wide contaminant inputs or were located in salmon streams to evaluate contaminants carried and released by migrating salmon carcasses following reproduction. Following standard deployments of approximately 28 d, an aliquot of the accumulated contaminants was intraperitoneally injected without cleanup into juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). After 2 d and 7 d, the activity of CYP1A was measured by the ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) assay. Exposure to extracts from the oiled sites and one hatchery site with numerous creosote pilings elicited strong EROD responses, whereas fish exposed to salmon stream extracts elicited weak but significant responses during late summer compared to late spring. Responses from the other sites were not significant, indicating contaminants from these sources are unlikely to cause CYP1A induction in resident biota. Rather than simply assessing extant contaminants, this method evaluates the potency of the different sites for bringing about aryl hydrocarbon receptor responses in resident biota.

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