Biochemical effects of petroleum exposure in hornyhead turbot Pleuronichthys verticalis) exposed to a gradient of sediments collected from a natural petroleum seep in CA, USA

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Concentrations of serum/plasma estradiol, biliary fluorescent aromatic compounds (FACs), levels of hepatic CYP1A expression, and DNA damage were measured in sexually mature hornyhead turbot (Pleuronichthys verticalis) exposed in the laboratory for 7 days to a gradient of sediments collected from a natural petroleum seep in the Santa Barbara Channel. Coal oil point (COP) sediments were homogenized and divided into four treatments containing 0 (sediment from the Orange County Sanitation District’s reference location), 33, 66, and 100% (COP) sediments. Sediment concentrations of 20 PAHs ranged from below the detection limit for the 0% COP sediment treatments to 105 mg/g in the 100% treatments with lower molecular weight compounds predominating. Concentrations of biliary FACs were not linear with COP treatment but levels of hepatic DNA damage increased linearly with increasing concentrations of high molecular weight PAHs. Hepatic CYP1A expression was elevated only in the 100% treatments. A reduction of plasma estradiol in male and female fish was observed in all COP exposures. These results demonstrate that acute sedimentonly exposure of flatfish to naturally-derived PAHs elicits alterations in biochemical endpoints indicative of PAH bioavailability and adverse effects with different sensitivities.

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