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Plasma Cholinesterase Activity in Female Green Turtles Chelonia mydas Nesting in Laguna de Terminos, Mexico Related to Organochlorine Pesticides in Their Eggs

Abstract

The inhibition of cholinesterase (ChE) activity has been used as a biomarker of exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. ChE of nesting female green turtles (Chelonia mydas) were biochemically characterized using two substrates, acetylthiocholine iodide and butyrylthiocholine iodide, and three ChE inhibitors (eserine sulfate, BW284C51 and iso-OMPA). The results indicated that BChE is the predominant plasma ChE in female C. mydas, but with atypical properties that differ from those found in human BChE. Eggs from green turtles nesting at two sites in Laguna de Terminos contained µg g−1 (wet weight) quantities of organochlorine (OC) pesticides. Drins (aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, endrin ketone, endrin aldehyde) were found at the highest concentrations with no significant differences in the concentrations in eggs collected at the two sampling sites. A negative relationship was found between levels of OC pesticides in eggs and BChE activity in the plasma of female turtles laying the eggs. Since OC pesticides are not cholinesterase inhibitors, we hypothesized that this inverse relationship may be related to an antagonistic effect between OCs and organophosphate pesticides and mobilization of OCs from the fatty tissues of the female turtles into their eggs. However, further study is required to verify the hypothesis. It is also possible that other contaminants, such as petroleum hydrocarbons are responsible for the modulation of cholinesterase activity in female turtles.

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Dr. Ann Grant for comments on an earlier draft that improved the quality of our manuscript. Author thanks financial support from UNAM-PAPIIT-DGAPA grants IA200214 and IA202416 and the Universidad Autónoma del Carmen. We thank the Turtle Station Managers, Biol. Vicente Guzmán Hernández and Ing. Alfonso Díaz Molina, for the support given during the sample collection. Special thanks to L.E.F.D. Félix Canul Cejas for his guidance and advice during the blood collection. Thanks to Andrés Cruz Quintana for his assistance during the collection of all blood samples.

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Correspondence to Gabriela Rodríguez-Fuentes.

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Rivas-Hernández, G., May-Uc, Y., Noreña-Barroso, E. et al. Plasma Cholinesterase Activity in Female Green Turtles Chelonia mydas Nesting in Laguna de Terminos, Mexico Related to Organochlorine Pesticides in Their Eggs. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 101–105 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2250-z

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Keywords

  • Cholinesterases
  • Chelonia mydas
  • Turtles
  • Biomonitoring