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Toxicity of retene to early life stages of two freshwater fish species

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Abstract

Larval zebrafish (Danio rerio) were exposed for 14 d to graded nominal concentrations of waterborne retene (7-isopropyl-1-methylphenanthrene) from 5 to 336 h postfertilization. Reduced growth, yolk sac edema, and mortality were observed before swim up at nominal concentrations of 320 μg/L and higher in a concentration-dependent manner. Similarly, exposures of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to retene (32–320 μg/L) for 42 d from the eyed egg stage to hatch and from hatch to the onset of swim up behavior caused exposure-related increases in blue sac disease posthatch. Symptoms included increased activity of cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) enzymes, yolk sac edema, subcutaneous hemorrhaging, reduced growth, and craniofacial malformations. Chronic exposure to retene resulted in mortality before swim up. Blue sac symptoms were observed in fish exposed to nominal concentrations as low as 32 μg/L, the lowest concentration tested, and fin erosion and opercular sloughing were evident in 100% of retene-exposed swim up larvae. No symptoms were observed in control fish or in fish exposed to acetone, the solvent carrier. The observed pathology resembles the toxicity of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin toxicity to developing stages of fish, and our results suggest that chronic exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may be responsible for recruitment failure associated with pulp mill effluents and oil spills.

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