Resistance to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon toxicity and associated bioenergetic consequences in a population of Fundulus heteroclitus.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Several locations in the Elizabeth River, VA, USA are highly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) due to the release of creosote mixtures from wood treatment facilities. Interestingly, some populations of Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) inhabiting the Elizabeth River (ER) are resistant to PAH-induced teratogenesis. However, evolutionary resistance to PAHs due to chronic PAH exposure is associated with reduced fitness and increased susceptibility to other environmental stressors in at least one PAH-resistant ER killifish population. More specifically, wild-caught and first generation PAH-resistant juvenile killifish have altered metabolic demands when compared to non-resistant fish. Herein, we investigated this association further by examining a previously under-studied population captured from the creosote-contaminated site Republic Creosoting (Rep). We assessed PAH toxicity and effects on energy metabolism in Rep killifish in comparison with killifish from the reference site Kings Creek (KC). Following exposures to simple and complex PAH mixtures, Rep killifish exhibited several phenotypes associated with PAH resistance including decreased incidences of developmental cardiovascular deformities and recalcitrant cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) activity. We evaluated bioenergetics in killifish embryos throughout development and found elevated basal oxygen consumption rates in Rep embryos relative to KC embryos. Furthermore, juvenile F1 Rep fish had significantly lower maximal metabolic rates and aerobic scopes than KC juveniles. These results suggest that populations of killifish that have adapted or evolved to withstand the toxicity associated with PAHs consequently have altered energetic metabolism or demands. Such consequences could result in an enhanced vulnerability to other environmental and anthropogenic stressors in PAH-resistant killifish.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lindberg, CD; Jayasundara, N; Kozal, JS; Leuthner, TC; Di Giulio, RT

Published Date

  • April 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 435 - 448

PubMed ID

  • 28213827

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5398948

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-3017

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-9292

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10646-017-1775-6


  • eng