Specific accumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers including deca-BDE in tissues of harbor seals from the Northwest AtlanticSpecific accumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers including deca-BDE in tissues of harbor seals from the Northwest Atlantic
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Research group
Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research (SPHERE)
Toxicological Centre
Publication type
Pharmacology. Therapy
Source (journal)
Organohalogen compounds
71(2009), p. 002520,1-002520,6
Target language
English (eng)
University of Antwerp
To examine tissue-specific accumulation of PBDEs, this study analyzed tri- through deca-BDEs in liver samples of harbor seals (n=56) from the northwest Atlantic region, and compared concentrations and patterns with those detected previously in blubber. Hepatic concentrations of ΣPBDEs ranged from 35 to 19547 ng/g lw (overall mean 2671 ng/g lw) and were similar to the concentrations in blubber (overall mean 2403 ng/g lw). Hepatic ΣPBDE concentrations were highest in the male pups (mean 4397 ng/g lw); their levels were significantly higher than those in the female pups. Tissue distribution of PBDEs differed markedly among male and female pups, suggesting possible gender differences in metabolism and elimination/retention of PBDEs among young seals. Congener profiles were dominated by BDE-47, indicating exposure to penta-BDE mixtures. Congener dominance in the pups was in the order: BDE-47>-99>-100>-153>-154>-155>, whereas hexa-BDEs surpassed penta-BDEs in the adult male profiles. Hepta- and octa-BDEs and BDE-209 were detected in seal liver, suggesting recent exposure to the octa- and deca-BDE formulations and/or BDE-209 debromination processes. Although detection frequency was low, BDE-209 levels in liver samples with detection (range:10 to 40 ng/g lw) were up to five times higher than those detected in blubber, implying that liver may be a preferential tissue for BDE-209 accumulation in harbor seals. Moreover, hepatic concentrations of BDE-209 in the seals were up to ten times higher than those reported in fishes that are harbor seal prey. These results suggest that BDE-209 can biomagnify in seal tissues and is subject to placental and/or lactational transfer, possibly placing pups at risk for adverse developmental effects.