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Environ Res. 2011 Jan;111(1):50-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Tributyltin and the obesogen metabolic syndrome in a salmonid.

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  • 1Ecotoxicology and Environmental Fish Health Program, Environmental Conservation Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA.


We conducted a dietary feeding study with juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) to assess the potential for tributyltin (TBT) to elicit the obesogen response that has been described for mammals. The results show increases in whole-body lipid content, which is consistent with the obesogen response; however, we also observed associated parameters that were dissimilar. We found increases in body mass and alterations to several physiological parameters at doses between 0.4 and 3.5 ng/g fish/day (1.4-12 pmol/g fish/day) and reduced body mass at the highest dose after 55 days of exposure. Lipid related plasma parameters (plasma triacylglycerols, cholesterol, and lipase) exhibited monotonic increases over all doses while other values (glucose and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)) exhibited increases only for the low-dose treatments. The increases noted for several parameters in fish were opposite to those reported for the obesogen metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a reduction in serum glucose, free fatty acids, and triglycerides. This is the first report of growth stimulation resulting from low-dose exposure to this pesticide, which is an unusual response for any animal exposed to an organic or organometallic xenobiotic. Because a number of environmental contaminants act as metabolic disruptors at very low doses, these results are noteworthy for a variety of species. Intuitively, enhanced growth and lipid storage may appear beneficial; however, for salmonids there are numerous potentially negative consequences for populations.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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