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Associations between perfluoroalkyl compounds and immune and clinical chemistry parameters in highly exposed bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

Author(s): Fair, P.A.; T. Romano; A.M. Schaefer; J.S. Reif; G.D. Bossart; M. Houde; D. Muir; J. Adams; C. Rice; T.C. Hulsey; M. Peden-Adams


Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Date of Publication: 2013

Reference Information: 32(4): 736-746

Keywords: Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs); Immunology; Hematology; Serum Chemistry; Bottlenose dolphins

Abstract: Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) are ubiquitous, persistent chemical contaminants found in the environment, wildlife and humans. Despite the widespread occurrence of PFCs, little is known regarding the impact of these contaminants on the health of wildlife populations. We investigated the relationship between PFCs (including ?perfluorocarboxylates (PFCA), ?perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSA), PFOS, PFOA, and PFDA) and clinocopathologic and immune parameters in a highly exposed population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (mean ?PFCs= 1970 ng/mL; range 574-8670 ng/mL) sampled during 2003-2005 near Charleston, SC (CHS); n=79. Age-adjusted linear regression models showed statistically significant positive associations between exposure to one or more of the PFC totals and/or individual analytes and the following immunological parameters: absolute numbers of CD2+ T cells, CD4+ helper T cells, CD19+ immature B cells, CD21+ mature B cells, CD2/CD21 ratio, MHCII+ cells, B cell proliferation, serum IgG1, granulocytic and monocytic phagocytosis. Several PFC analyte groups were also positively associated with ALT, GGT, creatinine, phosphorus, amylase, anion gap, and negatively associated with cholesterol levels, CPK, eosinophils and monocytes. Based on these relationships we suggest that the PFC concentrations found in CHS dolphins may have effects on immune, hematopoietic, kidney and liver function. Our results contribute to the emerging data on PFC health effects in this first study to describe associations between PFCs and health parameters in dolphins.