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Interfollicular fibrosis in the thyroid of the harbour porpoise: an endocrine disruption?
Das, K.; Vossen, A.; Tolley, K.A.; Víkingsson, G.A.; Thron, K.; Müller, G.; Baumgärtner, W.; Siebert, U. (2006). Interfollicular fibrosis in the thyroid of the harbour porpoise: an endocrine disruption? Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 51(4): 720-729. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-005-0098-4
In: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Springer: New York. ISSN 0090-4341, more
Peer reviewed article

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 142702 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    DDT; Endocrine systems; Morphology (animal); PCB; Pollution effects; Polychlorinated biphenyls; Water pollution; Phocoena G. Cuvier, 1816 [WoRMS]; Phocoenidae [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Das, K., more
  • Vossen, A.
  • Tolley, K.A.
  • Víkingsson, G.A.
  • Thron, K.
  • Müller, G.
  • Baumgärtner, W.
  • Siebert, U.

Abstract
    Previous studies have described high levels of polychlorobiphenyls (PCB), polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE), toxaphene, p,p1- dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and p,p1- dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) in the blubber of the harbour porpoise from the North Sea raising the question of a potential endocrine disruption in this species. In the present study, the thyroids of 57 harbour porpoises from the German and Danish (North and Baltic Seas), Norwegian, and Icelandic coasts have been collected for histological and immunohistological investigations. The number of follicles and the relative distribution of follicles, connective, and solid tissues (%) were quantified in the thyroid of each individual. Then, the potential relationship between the thyroid morphometry data and previously described organic compounds (namely, PCB, PBDE, toxaphene, DDT, and DDE) was investigated using factor analysis and multiple regressions. Thyroid morphology differed strongly between sampling sites. Porpoises from the German (North and Baltic Seas) and Norwegian coasts displayed a high percentage of connective tissues between 30 and 38% revealing severe interfollicular fibrosis and a high number of large follicles (diameter >200 µm). A correlation-based principal component analysis (PCA) revealed two principal components explaining 85.9% of the total variance. The variables PCB, PBDE, DDT, and DDE compounds loaded highest on PC1 whereas toxaphene compound loaded most on PC2. Our results pointed out a relationship between PC1 (PCBs, PBDE, DDE, and DDT compounds) and interfollicular fibrosis in the harbour porpoise thyroids. Such an association is not alone sufficient for a cause-effect relationship but supports the hypothesis of a contaminant-induced thyroid fibrosis in harbour porpoises raising the question of the long-term viability in highly polluted areas.

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