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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Dec 9;105(49):19354-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0802616105. Epub 2008 Nov 24.

Maternal transfer of xenobiotics and effects on larval striped bass in the San Francisco Estuary.

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  • 1John Muir Institute of the Environment, Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA. djostrach@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Aquatic ecosystems around the world face serious threats from anthropogenic contaminants. Results from 8 years of field and laboratory investigations indicate that sublethal contaminant exposure is occurring in the early life stages of striped bass in the San Francisco Estuary, a population in continual decline since its initial collapse during the 1970s. Biologically significant levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and current-use/legacy pesticides were found in all egg samples from river-collected fish. Developmental changes previously unseen with standard methods were detected with a technique using the principles of unbiased stereology. Abnormal yolk utilization, brain and liver development, and overall growth were observed in larvae from river-collected fish. Histopathological analyses confirmed and identified developmental alterations. Using this methodology enabled us to present a conclusive line of evidence for the maternal transfer of xenobiotics and their adverse effects on larval striped bass in this estuary.

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