Stored retinoids in populations of the estuarine fish Fundulus heteroclitus indigenous to PCB-contaminated and reference sites

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Concentrations of retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, were measured in populations of the nonmigratory estuarine fish Fundulus heteroclitus, indigenous to a reference site and a site highly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to address the hypothesis that contaminant exposure causes depletion of stored retinoids in native fish populations. To assess differences related to chemical exposure, as well as season and diet, hepatic retinoid analyses were conducted using fish collected early and late in the natural spawning season and after laboratory holding. Though hepatic retinoid composition was generally similar among groups, hepatic retinoid concentrations differed. Laboratory-held fish had higher hepatic retinyl ester concentrations than field-collected fish. Among field-collected fish, those collected early in the spawning season had higher hepatic retinyl ester concentrations than those collected later in the spawning season. Although there was no evidence of the dramatic retinoid depletions that have been reported in highly exposed populations of other fish species, hepatic retinoid stores were consistently lower in F. heteroclitus indigenous to the highly PCB-contaminated site. These results are consistent with prior findings that fish from this contaminated site are relatively insensitive to some of the toxic effects of PCB exposures, including retinoid depletion.

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Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology