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Keywords:

  • Mink;
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin;
  • 2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran;
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzofuran;
  • Reproduction

Abstract

This study assessed the effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran (PeCDF), and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran (TCDF) on the reproductive performance of female mink (Mustela vison) and the viability and growth of their offspring. Nine adult female mink were randomly assigned to one of 13 dietary treatments (one control and four doses each of TCDD, PeCDF, and TCDF [2.1–8.4, 4.0–15 and 5.2–25 ng TCDD toxic equivalents (TEQ)/kg body wt/d]). Diets were fed from two months prior to breeding through weaning of offspring at six weeks of age. At least nine kits per treatment group were maintained on their diets through 27 weeks of age. There were no effects on litter size or viability of offspring. No consistent effects were observed on body mass or relative organ masses of animals at any age. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and PeCDF accumulated in the liver and adipose tissue, but TCDF cleared rapidly. The lack of significant effects on reproduction and offspring viability contrasts with effects reported for mink exposed to environmentally derived PCB mixtures with equivalent TCDD potencies. This suggests that it may be inappropriate to apply toxicity reference values associated with PCB mixtures to animals also exposed to TCDD, PeCDF, or TCDF, and the World Health Organization TCDD toxic equivalency factors for some congeners may not be appropriate for mink. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:360–369. © 2011 SETAC