Endocrine disrupting, haematological and biochemical effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in a terrestrial songbird, the European starling (**Sturnus vulgaris**)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam
, p. 6142-6147
University of Antwerp
We exposed female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) during a 6 month period to environmentally relevant concentrations of a pentabromodiphenyl ether (Penta-BDE) mixture (about 1740 μg/kg body weight) through subcutaneous implants, and examined endocrine disruptive, haematological and biochemical effects. To investigate endocrine disrupting effects of PBDEs, testosterone, estradiol and thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) were measured in the plasma. We found no significant differences between the control and exposed groups for any of the hormones. However, 14 days after implantation, T3 concentrations tended to be lower in the exposed group compared to the control group. For albumin, our results suggest that short term exposure of PBDEs may result in a negative effect on albumin, while the opposite was observed on a longer term (6 months after implantation). However, from the statistical analysis, effects on albumin disappeared when excluding females that laid eggs. These results demonstrate that observed effects during the breeding season should be interpreted carefully when the breeding status of females is unknown. There were no significant differences found between the control and exposed groups for the other biochemical parameters (total protein, uric acid, cholesterol, aspartate transaminase, total antioxidative capacity, high-density lipoproteins and creatine kinase) and haematological parameters (amount of red blood cells, haemoglobin concentration, haematocrit, mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular haemoglobin). All together, our results suggest that European starlings, similar to other passerine species, may be less sensitive to the effects of organohalogenated pollutants, such as PBDEs, than other bird species.