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Chemosphere. 2013 Nov;93(10):2333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.08.030. Epub 2013 Sep 6.

Is the bone tissue of ring-billed gulls breeding in a pollution hotspot in the St. Lawrence River, Canada, impacted by halogenated flame retardant exposure?

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Centre de recherche en toxicologie de l'environnement (TOXEN), Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.


Bone metabolism is a tightly regulated process that controls bone remodeling and repair in addition to maintaining circulating calcium and phosphate levels. It has been shown that certain organohalogen contaminants may adversely impact bone tissue metabolism and structure in wildlife species. However, exceedingly few studies have addressed the bone-related effects of organohalogen exposure in birds. The objective of the present study was to investigate the associations between markers of bone metabolism and structural integrity, and concentrations of established and current-use halogenated flame retardants (FRs) in ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) nesting in a known FR hotspot area in the St. Lawrence River (Montreal, Canada). Bone metabolism was assessed using plasma calcium and inorganic phosphate levels, and alkaline phophatase activity, while bone (tarsus; trabecular and cortical sections) structure quality was examined using the percentage of bone tissue comprised in the total bone volume (Bv/Tv) and bone mineral density (BMD). Bv/Tv and BMD of the tarsus tended (not significant) to be positively associated with circulating calcium levels in male ring-billed gulls. Moreover, concentrations of FRs in male bird liver (brominated diphenyl ether (BDE)-154, -183, -201, and -209) and plasma (BDE-209) were negatively correlated with trabecular and cortical BMD of the tarsus. These correlative associations may suggest light demineralization of bone tissue associated with FR exposure in male ring-billed gulls. Present findings provide some evidence that bone (tarsus) metabolism and mineral composition may be impacted in high FR-exposed (mainly to PBDEs) ring-billed gulls breeding in the highly urbanized Montreal region.


Alkaline phosphatase; Bird; Bone mineral density; Calcium; Flame retardant; Inorganic phosphate

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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