Subject: Beluga/contamination:New publication concerning toxicology in beluga whales (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Wed, 30 Dec 1998 16:22:02 -0500 (EST)

Subject: New publication concerning toxicology in beluga whales

Dear Marmamers,

Here is a new publication concerning toxicology in beluga whales.  We hav=
about 50 reprints available.

Mercury-induced micronuclei in skin fibroblasts of beluga whales.
Gauthier, J.M.; Dubeau, H.; Rassart, E.=20
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. December 1998 v17 i12 p2487-2493

Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St. Lawrence estuary
are highly contaminated with environmental contaminants and have a high
incidence of cancer.  Environmental contaminants may be partly responsibl=
for the high incidence of cancer observed in this population.  DNA damage
plays an important role in the development of cancer.  The micronuclei
assay was used to test the genotoxic potentiel of mercury compounds in sk=
fibroblasts of an arctic beluga whale.  Both mercuric chloride (Hg) and
methyl mercury (MeHg) induced a highly significant (p<0.001) increase of
micronucleated cells.  Statistically significant increases in
micronucleated cells were observed for 0.5, 5 and 20 ug/ml Hg and 0.05, 0=
and 2 ug/ml MeHg when compared to controls.  concentrations of 0.5, 5 and
20 ug/ml induced a two-, three- and fourfold increase of micronucleated
cells, respectively.  Treatment with MeHg was an order of magnitude more
potent in inducing micronuclei and in inhibiting cell proliferation than
Hg.  Although results of this in vitro study do not imply that mercury
compounds are involved in the etiology of cancer in St. Lawrence beluga
whales, significant increases in micronuclei frequency were found at low
concentrations of MeHg (0.05 and 0.5 ug/ml) that are believed to be
comparable to concentrations present in certain whales of this population.

Please address reprint request to me at this email address:

Thank you,=20

Julie Gauthier
Julie Gauthier (=E9tudiante au Ph.D. student)
Universit=E9 du Qu=E9bec =E0 Montr=E9al
D=E9partement des Sciences Biologiques
C. P. 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville
Montr=E9al, Qu=E9bec, Canada, H3C 3P8
tel: 514 987 3000 (ext. 8287 or 3787)
fax: 514 987 4647