Comparative fate of organohalogen contaminants in two top carnivores in Greenland: captive sledge dogs and wild polar bears.Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Apr; 147(3):306-15.CB
The limited knowledge and/or the inability to control physiological condition parameters that influence the fate of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) has been the foremost confounding aspect in monitoring programs and health risk assessments of wild top predators in the Arctic such as the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). In the present comparative study, we used a potential surrogate Canoidea species for the East Greenland polar bear, the captive sledge dog (Canis familiaris), to investigate some factors that may influence the bioaccumulation and biotransformation of major chlorinated and brominated OHCs in adipose tissue and blood (plasma) of control (fed commercial pork fat) and exposed (fed West Greenland minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber) adult female sledge dogs. Furthermore, we compared the patterns and concentrations of OHCs and their known or suggested hydroxylated (OH) metabolites (e.g., OH-PCBs) in sledge dogs with those in adipose tissue and blood (plasma) of East Greenland adult female polar bears, and blubber of their main prey species, the ringed seal (Pusa hispida). The two-year feeding regime conducted with sledge dogs led to marked differences in overall adipose tissue (and plasma) OHC residue accumulation between the control and exposed groups. Characteristic prey-to-predator OHC bioaccumulation dynamics for major PCB and PBDE congeners (patterns and concentrations) and biotransformation capacity with respect to PCB metabolite formation and OH-PCB retention distinguished, to some extent, captive sledge dogs and wild polar bears. Based on the present findings, we conclude that the use of surrogate species in toxicological investigations for species in the Canoidea family should be done with great caution, although they remain essential in the context of contaminants research with sensitive arctic top carnivore species such as the polar bear.