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Histology of sculpin spp. in East Greenland. II. Histopathology and trace element concentrations


Kaarsholm, HM and Verland, N and Norregaard, RD and Bach, L and Sondergaard, J and Riget, FF and Dietz, R and Hansen, M and Eulaers, I and Desforges, J-P and Leifsson, PS and Dang, TS and Nowak, B and Sonne, C, Histology of sculpin spp. in East Greenland. II. Histopathology and trace element concentrations, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, 100, (8-10) pp. 769-784. ISSN 1029-0486 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/02772248.2019.1579992


For many years, the sculpin has been utilized as a sentinel monitoring species for anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment. To further develop its potential as a screening model body burden of several trace elements, including cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and selenium (Se), were investigated. In addition, histopathology in shorthorn sculpins (Myoxocephalus scorpius; n = 20) and fourhorn sculpins (Myoxocephalus quadricornis; n = 10) were examined at three sites around the Scoresby Sound settlement in Central East Greenland. Fourhorn sculpins caught at the most distant site from the settlement, contained significantly higher hepatic Cu and Cd concentrations as well as significantly elevated gill Pb levels compared to the shorthorn sculpins collected at two other sites closer to the settlement. Histological examinations showed that fish with significantly higher concentrations of hepatic Cd and Se exhibited greater nuclear alterations, interstitial hyperplasia/hypertrophy, interstitial mononuclear infiltrations and granulomas. Further, fish with higher Cd and Cu gill tissue levels displayed a significantly higher number of cytoplasmic alterations and lamellar epithelium lifting, hypertrophic and hyperplastic epithelium along with mucus cell hyperplasia. While the presence of liver lesions were not species or sex-specific, the presence of gill lesions decreased in the order female fourhorn sculpins > female shorthorn sculpins > male fourhorn sculpins > male shorthorn sculpins. Hepatic Hg concentrations exceeded known lowest observable effect doses (LOED) for fish (0.10.5 μg g−1 ww) in 27% of fish, while liver Cd residues in 80% exceeded LOED (0.421.8 μg g−1 ww). Based upon these results, data suggest that using the sculpin as a valuable sentinel fish species histopathology may serve as a reliable tool for assessing marine ecosystem exposure to trace metals. However, confounding physiological and ecological factors also need to be considered.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:environmental monitoring, Arctic, metals, selenium, gills, liver
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fish pests and diseases
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Mineral exploration
Objective Field:Mineral exploration not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Dang, TS (Ms Thi Dang)
UTAS Author:Nowak, B (Professor Barbara Nowak)
ID Code:136586
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2020-01-10
Last Modified:2020-04-30

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