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Title: Effects of heavy metals on biomarkers for oxidative stress in Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

Metals are involved in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which may result in metal-related oxidative stress that can lead to oxidative damage to lipids, DNA and proteins. It is necessary to understand the mechanisms of metal toxicity in wild birds, and the concentrations that cause effects on oxidative stress biomarkers. The aim of this study is to assess the concentrations of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) with regards to oxidative stress in blood samples of 66 Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from two areas of the Autonomous Community of Valencia (East of Spain). The two study areas (Alcoy n=36 and Cinctorres n=30) were selected as random locations of interest that had not yet been studied, and are feeding stations where supplementary food, mainly of pork origin, is provided for vultures. Given that the two study areas are not considered polluted sites, we expected to find low metal concentrations. However, there are no known threshold concentrations at which metals can affect antioxidant systems, and low metal levels may have an effect on antioxidant biomolecules. In this study, since sampling was done at the beginning of the hunting season, the low Pb levels found inmore » most Griffon vultures from Alcoy and Cinctorres (median=12.37 and 16.26 μg/dl, respectively) are suggestive of background levels usually found in vultures that feed on pork carcasses all year round. The ingestion of game meat with bullet fragments in carcasses or with Pb shots embedded in the flesh could be the cause of the high blood Pb concentrations found in three vultures from Cinctorres (83, 290 and 362 μg/dl). Griffon vultures feeding in Cinctorres had enhanced CAT and GST activities and tGSH concentrations, which may be interpreted as protective response against the higher TBARS levels. This study provides threshold concentrations at which metals affect antioxidant system derived from 66 samples of Griffon vulture. Blood Cd concentrations greater than 0.05 μg/dl produced an induction of 33% in GPx and of 44% in CAT activity in erythrocytes of vultures from Alcoy. Hg concentrations in blood higher than 3 μg/dl produced an induction of 10% in SOD activity. Concentrations of Pb above 15 µg/dl in blood produced an inhibition of 12.5% in GPx and 11.3% in CAT activity, and a TBARS induction of 10.7% in erythrocytes of Griffon vultures. - Highlights: • Except for 3 Griffon vultures, lead levels could be considered background levels. • Three vultures may be exposed to meat with bullet fragments (blood Pb=83–362 μg/dl). • Blood Cd levels≥0.05 μg/dl caused an induction of GPx and CAT activity (33% and 44%). • Blood Hg levels≥3 μg/dl caused an induction of 10% in SOD activity. • Blood Pb≥15 µg/dl caused an inhibition of GPx and CAT activity and a TBARS induction.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia (Spain)
  2. (Spain)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 129; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States