[MARMAM] New paper on contaminant and cell toxicity in the North Atlantic Right Whale

Godard-Codding, Celine celine.godard-codding at tiehh.ttu.edu
Thu Nov 30 08:38:18 PST 2006

Dear All,

The following paper has been recently published in Marine Environmental Research: 

Benzo[a]pyrene cytotoxicity in right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) skin, testis and lung cell lines

C.A.J. Godard, S.S. Wise, R.S. Kelly, B. Goodale, S. Kraus, T. Romano, T. O'Hara, J.P. Wise Sr.*


The North Atlantic right whale (NARW) is one of the most endangered great whales. The NARW population consists of only about 300 individuals and is reproducing at an insufficient rate.  There is growing concern about the potential effects of environmental contaminants on the reproductive and overall health of the NARW. High contaminant burdens can accumulate in tissues of great whales but toxicological studies of their effects are limited due to legal, logistical and ethical restrictions, and specific in vitro models are critically needed.  Cell lines from NARW skin and internal organs were previously created in our laboratory. In this study, skin, testis and lung primary fibroblast cell lines were exposed to benzo[a]pyrene (BP) as part of a multi-chemical toxicity testing project in NARW. Cells were exposed for 24-72h to 10nM-10uM BP dissolved in dimethylsulfoxide.  Cytotoxicity was measured with a clonogenic assay using standard methods.  Some cytotoxicity was observed after 24 h, the highest concentration (10 uM BP) resulting in 77, 74 and 51 percent relative survival in testis, skin and lung cells, respectively and indicating a higher cytotoxicity in the lung (p<0.05).  After 48h and 72h exposure, 10 uM BP resulted in 24 and 3, 74 and 27, and 42 and 23 percent relative survival in testis, skin and lung cells, respectively.  Cytotoxicity significantly increased with exposure time in all three tissues (p<0.05 for skin and p<0.01 for lung and testis), suggesting metabolic activation of BP in the three organs.  Fibroblast cytotoxicity observed in the testis was higher than that observed either in the skin or lung after 48h (p<0.01) and was close to 100% after 72h, warranting further investigation of the potential effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on reproductive health.


* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 207 228 8049.

E-mail address: john.wise at usm.maine.edu 

All the best,

Céline Godard-Codding




Céline Godard-Codding, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health

Texas Tech University and TTU Health Sciences Center

Box 41163

Lubbock, Texas 79409-1163

Office: (806)-885-0337

Fax:    (806)-885-4577



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