Hexavalent chromium is cytotoxic and genotoxic to the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) lung and testes fibroblasts

Publikationen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


  • John Pierce Wise
  • Sandra S Wise
  • Scott Kraus
  • Fariba Shaffiey
  • Marijke Grau
  • Tania Li Chen
  • Christopher Perkins
  • W Douglas Thompson
  • Tongzhang Zheng
  • Yawei Zhang
  • Tracy Romano
  • Todd O'Hara



Although hexavalent chromium is a known genotoxic agent in human and terrestrial mammals and is present in seawater and air, its effects on marine mammals including the endangered North Atlantic right whale are unknown and untested. The present study investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of hexavalent chromium in primary cultured North Atlantic right whale lung and testes fibroblasts and levels of total chromium in skin biopsies from North Atlantic right whales. Cytotoxicity was measured by clonogenic survival assay. Genotoxicity was measured as production of chromosome aberrations. Tissue chromium levels were determined from skin biopsies of healthy free-ranging whales in the Bay of Fundy using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. Hexavalent chromium-induced concentration-dependent increases in right whale lung and testes fibroblast cytotoxicity with the testes more sensitive to the cytotoxic effects. It also induced concentration-dependent increases in chromosomal aberrations in both cell types with no significant difference in sensitivity. Skin biopsy data indicate that North Atlantic right whales are exposed to chromium and accumulate a range of 4.9-10 microg Cr/g tissue with a mean of 7.1 microg/g. Hexavalent chromium is cytotoxic and genotoxic to North Atlantic right whale cells. The whales have tissue chromium levels that are concerning. These data support a hypothesis that chromium may be a concern for the health of the North Atlantic right whales. Considering these data with chromium chemistry, whale physiology and atmospheric chromium levels further suggest that inhalation may be an important exposure route.

ZeitschriftMutation research
Seiten (von - bis)30-8
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 31.01.2008

ID: 260403


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