Author(s): Aguilar A, Borrell A
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Abstract PCB concentrations and total lipid content were determined in the blubber and liver of striped dolphins affected by the 1990 morbillivirus epizootic in the Mediterranean Sea, and in the blubber of striped dolphins from the same area sampled with a biopsy dart in 1987-1989 and 1991. PCB levels were found to be significantly higher in the individuals that succumbed to the epizootic than in the 'healthy' population sampled before or after the event. Although recent mobilization of lipid reserves was found to have occurred in some of the diseased dolphins, this had little effect on their PCB blubber concentrations and cannot explain the observed difference with the healthy individuals. Three hypotheses are put forward to explain the apparent link between high PCB levels and mortality caused by the epizootic: (i) depressed immunocompetence caused by PCBs leading to an increase in individual susceptibility to the morbillivirus infection, (ii) mobilization of fat reserves leading to increased PCB levels in blood which, in turn, may produce a liver lesion capable of increasing the individual's susceptibility to the morbillivirus infection, and (iii) previous existence of an unspecific hepatic lesion producing impairment of the liver function which, in turn, could lead to an increase both in tissue PCB concentrations and in individual susceptibility to the morbillivirus infection.
This article was published in Sci Total Environ
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species