Biochemical responses to sediment-associated contaminants in brown bullhead (Ameriurus nebulosus) from the Niagara River ecosystem

Journal Article

Brown bullhead (Ameriurus nebulosus) were collected from three sites in the Niagara River ecosystem in June and September of 1991, and sediment samples from these sites were obtained in July 1991. The sites were located in the Buffalo River, the Niagara River adjacent to the Love Canal dump site, and in Black Creek, a Canadian tributary of the Niagara River which served as a reference site. Sediment samples from these sites contained measurable concentrations of various polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHs). However, the Buffalo River and Love Canal samples were significantly more contaminated than those from Black Creek. Moreover, Buffalo River samples contained greater PAH concentrations than samples from the Love Canal, while the reverse was observed for CHs. Bile and liver of bullhead were used for the following analyses: fluorescent aromatic compounds in bile, a measure of exposure to PAHs, microsomal cytochrome P450 (CYP) and P4501A (CYP1A) contents and ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activities, total glutathione (TH-GSH) concentrations, concentrations of 8-oxodeoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG), and concentrations of hydrophobic DNA adducts (as measured by 32P-postlabelling). Additionally, a laboratory experiment was performed to examine CYP1A-associated responses in bullhead exposed to the model inducer, β-naphthoflavone (BNF). Results from the laboratory induction study were generally consistent with those observed in the field study, but the field study results suggested induction of CYP1A in bullhead from the reference site (Black Creek). For both field collections, fish from the Buffalo River displayed the greatest concentrations of fluorescent compounds in bile and hepatic DNA adducts, whilst fish from the Love Canal site displayed the greatest microsomal CYP1A concentrations and EROD activities. TH-GSH concentrations were significantly greater in Buffalo River fish versus Black Creek only for the June sampling. No statistically significant differences in 8-oxo-dG concentrations in bullhead hepatic DNA were observed among the sites at either sampling date. The different patterns in biochemical responses observed were consistent with sediment chemistries, and these results suggest that exposure of feral teleosts to different suites of bioavailable contaminants can be associated with expression of a characteristic array of biochemical responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Eufemia, NA; Collier, TK; Stein, JE; Watson, DE; Giulio, RTD

Published Date

  • 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 13 - 34

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-9292

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1023/A:1018692005641