Effects of the dioxin-like PCB 126 on larval summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus)

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Little is known about the sensitivity of teleost post-embryonic developmental stages (larval and metamorphic) to dioxin-like compounds. Larval and metamorphosing summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) were exposed to the dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl congener PCB 126, to compare their sensitivity to other fish species early life stages, and to document effects on metamorphic development, including degree of eye migration and gastric maturation. Median lethal doses (LD 50 s) ranged between 30 and 220 ng/g wet mass, indicating that pre- and early-metamorphic stages of summer flounder are equally sensitive to the embryos of some of the most vulnerable fish species tested. Consistent with the presence of a functional aryl hydrocarbon receptor pathway, dose-dependent induction of cytochrome P-4501A (CYP1A) at four days post-exposure was observed in liver, stomach, intestine, and kidney of metamorphosing larvae. Stage-dependent differences in the epithelial distribution of CYP1A immunoreactivity were observed in the developing stomach of fish exposed to relatively high PCB 126 doses. A single sublethal dose (15 ng/g) delayed metamorphic progress (determined by the degree of eye migration), and resulted in abnormally high levels of cell proliferation and abnormal gastric gland morphology in late metamorphic stages. These results suggest that the post-embryonic larval and metamorphic stages of summer flounder, and potentially other fish species with complex life histories, are vulnerable to the effects of dioxin-like compounds, including lethality, developmental delay, and malformations. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology