[MARMAM] New paper on Domoic acid in the milk of marine mammals off California

Lauren Rust rustl at TMMC.org
Fri Jul 25 11:32:36 PDT 2014

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to annouce our recent publication in Marine Mammal Science. Please contact me directly for copies @ rustl at tmmc.org or it can be accessed here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/mms.12117/

Domoic acid in milk of free living California marine mammals indicates lactational exposure occurs.

Lauren Rust and France Gulland, The Marine Mammal Center 2000 Bunker Road, Sausalito, California 94965, U.S.A.; Elizabeth Frame and Kathi Lefebvre, Northwest Fisheries Science Center NOAA Fisheries, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, Washing- ton 98112, U.S.A.

California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) have stranded along the California coastline over the last 15 years due to domoic acid (DA) toxicosis (Scholin et al., 2000; Gulland et al., 2002). Domoic acid exposure also causes reproductive failure in California sea lions (Brodie et al., 2006; Goldstein et al.,2009) and controlled studies have demonstrated that DA can cross the placenta and be detected in milk causing developmental effects in young rodents (Maucher and Ramsdell, 2005; 2007). To determine the distribution of DA in naturally exposed marine mammals and the potential for lactational transfer, a range of samples were collected opportunistically from 54 stranded marine mammals in California. Between 2005 and 2013, samples of milk, urine, feces, bile, stomach contents, serum, aqueous humor, amniotic fluid, and pericardium fluid were collected at necropsy and stored at -80 C until processing from California sea lions (n=43), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) (n=1), northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) (n=2), and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) (n= 9). The majority of samples were collected within one week of stranding, but some as late as 52 days after live stranding and rehabilitation. Samples were tested for domoic acid using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) at the NOAA NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, WA, USA.  Domoic acid was detected in milk samples (n = 55) at levels ranging from 1.1 ng/ml to 142.6 ng/ml, and in 75% of these animals DA was also detected in other bodily fluids. These marine mammals nurse their young for 6 months to 2 years, potentially exposing them to DA which could cause abnormal development or neurological effects as seen in rats (Xi et al., 1997). Understanding the extent of transfer of DA to developing young will help further our understanding of the long term effects of DA on development.

Thank you,
Lauren Rust
Research Biologist
The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
Rustl at tmmc.org

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