A screening of liver, kidney, and thyroid gland morphology in organochlorine-contaminated glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard
Authors: Sonne, C; Maehre, SAB; Sagerup, K; Harju, M; Heimstad, ES; Leifsson, PS; Dietz, R; Gabrielsen, GW
Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry 95:172-186.
HERO ID: 2184804
Concentrations of organochlorine (OC) contaminants and histomorphology of liver, kidney, and thyroid . . .
Concentrations of organochlorine (OC) contaminants and histomorphology of liver, kidney, and thyroid tissues were studied in nine adult and one subadult glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) collected at Svalbard on 2 August 2011. Concentrations of liver polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB; range: 1502820ngg1 ww), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT; range: 58724ngg1 ww), and chlordanes (CHL; range: 11126ngg1 ww) dominated the OC profile followed by hexachlorobenzene (HCB; range: 1142ngg1 ww), mirex (range: 252ngg1 ww), and -hexachlorocyclohexane (-HCH; range: 17ngg1 ww). Histological examination of the liver showed mononuclear cell infiltrations and granulomas in 10 and 6 gulls, respectively, while intense intrahepatic lipid accumulation (steatosis) was found in two and focal necrosis in one gull. In kidney, glomerular sclerosis and adhesions was found in five and one gull, respectively. Thickening of the glomerular basement membranes and tubular necrosis was found in four and seven gulls, respectively, while mononuclear cell infiltrations were found in two individuals. In the thyroid gland, a high density of small follicles accompanied by follicular epithelial cell proliferation was observed in five glaucous gulls. Gulls with hepatic steatosis had significantly higher sigma DDT levels than the gulls without hepatic steatosis and a similar trend was found for sigma PCB. When normalizing OC concentrations for lipid content in liver, gulls with lipid granulomas had significantly lower -HCH and significantly higher mirex levels, respectively, than gulls without lipid granulomas. Also; gulls with thickening of the glomerular basement membranes had non-significantly higher sigma PCB levels than gulls without. The histological findings were similar to those of controlled laboratory studies and OC-contaminated wildlife (e.g., polar bears; Ursus maritimus) and the data of this study therefore suggest that OC exposure may be a co-factor in the development of organ alterations in glaucous gulls. However, other environmental factors such as age, element exposure, and infectious micropathogens cannot be ruled out as co-factors, and it is uncertain if the tissue changes found exert adverse health effects on the population of Svalbard glaucous gulls.