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An Exploratory Analysis of Stream Teratogenicity and Human Health Using Zebrafish Whole-Sediment Toxicity Test

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3209 N. Maryland Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
2
School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 600 E. Greenfield Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA
3
Concordia University Wisconsin-School of Pharmacy, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI 53097, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Challenges 2014, 5(1), 75-97; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe5010075
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 18 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality in the City)
This study demonstrates a novel application of effect-based toxicity testing for streams that may provide indications of co-perturbation to ecological and human health. For this study, a sediment contact assay using zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos was adapted to serve as an indicator of teratogenic stress within river sediments. Sediment samples were collected from Lake Michigan tributary watersheds. Sediment contact assay responses were then compared to prevalence of congenital heart disease (CHD) and vital statistic birth indicators aggregated from civil divisions associated with the watersheds. Significant risk relationships were detected between variation in early life-stage (ELS) endpoints of zebrafish embryos 72 h post-fertilization and the birth prevalence of human congenital heart disease, low birthweight and infant mortality. Examination of principal components of ELS endpoints suggests that variance related to embryo heart and circulatory malformations is most closely associated with human CHD prevalence. Though toxicity assays are sometimes used prospectively, this form of investigation can only be conducted retrospectively. These results support the hypothesis that bioassays normally used for ecological screening can be useful as indicators of environmental stress to humans and expand our understanding of environmental–human health linkages. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioassay; zebrafish; Great Lakes; sediment toxicity; congenital heart disease bioassay; zebrafish; Great Lakes; sediment toxicity; congenital heart disease
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Dellinger, M.; Carvan, M.J.; Klingler, R.H.; McGraw, J.E.; Ehlinger, T. An Exploratory Analysis of Stream Teratogenicity and Human Health Using Zebrafish Whole-Sediment Toxicity Test. Challenges 2014, 5, 75-97.

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