Toxicity of paraquat in nestling birds: Effects on plasma and tissue biochemistry in American kestrels
- Cite this article as:
- Hoffman, D.J., Franson, J.C., Pattee, O.H. et al. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. (1987) 16: 177. doi:10.1007/BF01055799
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Beginning the day after hatching, American kestrel (Falco sparverius) nestlings were orally dosed daily for 10 days with 5 μL/g of distilled water (controls), 10 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, or 60 mg/kg of paraquat dichloride (1,1′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium dichloride) in distilled water. Forty-four percent of the nestlings receiving 60 mg/kg died after 4 days. Plasma LDH activity and total protein concentration were elevated, and plasma alkaline phosphatase activity was lower in survivors of the 60 mg/kg group at 10 days. Lung total sulfhydryl (TSH) and protein-bound sulfhydryl (PBSH) concentrations were significantly higher in the 10 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, or 60 mg/kg groups. Lung DNA, RNA, protein, and hydroxyproline (collagen) concentrations were not significantly affected by treatment. Liver NPSH was lower in the 60 mg/kg group while liver glycogen concentration was not affected by treatment. Kidney DNA, RNA, and RNA to protein concentration ratio were higher in the 25 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg groups. These findings in combination with recently reported effects on growth and histopathology suggest that altricial nestling kestrels are more sensitive to paraquat exposure than young or adult birds of precocial species. From a comparative viewpoint, lungs of nestling kestrels are less sensitive to paraquat than mammalian lungs.