Piscivorous Mammalian Wildlife as Sentinels of Methylmercury Exposure and Neurotoxicity in Humans
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of how piscivorous (fish-eating) wildlife can be used to complement existing public health strategies to assess the neurotoxic risks of methylmercury. A brief introduction concerning the use of wildlife as model sentinel organisms in the field of environmental neurotoxicology is provided. Next, selected scientific examples are detailed that illustrate how data from piscivorous wildlife may provide pertinent, real-world information on the bioavailability of methylmercury and environmental exposures. Information concerning methylmercury’s subclinical (e.g., perturbations in brain neurochemistry and neuroendocrine hormones) and clinical (structural and functional deficits) neurological effects across organisms is also discussed.
KeywordsMercury Level Mercury Exposure Muscarinic Cholinergic Receptor Common Loon River Otter
- Borg K, Wanntrop H, Erne K, Hanko H. Alkyl mercury poisoning in terrestrial Swedish wildlife. Viltrevy. 1967;6:302–77.Google Scholar
- Coccini T, Randine G, Candura SM, Nappi RE, Prockop LD, Manzo L. Low-level exposure to methylmercury modifies muscarinic cholinergic receptor binding characteristics in rat brain and lymphocytes: physiologic implications and new opportunities in biologic monitoring. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108:29–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Harada K, Koizumi A, Saito N, Inoue K, Yoshinaga T, Date C, Fujii S, Hachiya N, Hirosawa I, Koda S, Kusaka Y, Murata K, Omae K, Shimbo S, Takenaka K, Takeshita T, Todoriki H, Wada Y, Watanabe T, Ikeda M. Historical and geographical aspects of the increasing perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate contamination in human serum in Japan. Chemosphere. 2007;66:293–301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mcintyre JW, Barr JF. Common Loon. In: Birds of North America Online. 2010. http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/313/articles/foodhabits. Accessed 12 Feb 2011.
- NRC. Animals as sentinels of environmental health hazards. Washington: Committee on Animal as Monitors of Environmental Hazards, National Academy Press; 1991.Google Scholar
- Sample BE, Suter GWIII. Ecological risk assessment in a large river-reservoir: 4. Piscivorous wildlife. Environ Toxicol Chem. 1999;18:610–20.Google Scholar
- Scheuhammer AM, Bank M, Basu N, Evers DC, Heinz GH, Sandheinrich MB. Toxicology of mercury in fish and wildlife: recent advances. In: Bank M, editor. Mercury in the environment: pattern and process. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2011.Google Scholar
- Sleeman JM, Cristol DA, White AE, Evers DC, Gerhold RW, Keel MK. Mercury poisoning in a free-living northern river otter (Lontra canadensis). J Wildl Dis. 2010;46:1035–9.Google Scholar
- Takeuchi T, Eto K. The pathology of Minamata disease—a tragic story of water pollution. Fukuoka, Japan: Kyushu University Press; 1999.Google Scholar
- Thompson DR. Mercury in birds and terrestrial mammals. In: Beyer WN, Heinz GH, Redmon-Norwood AW, editors. Environmental contaminants in wildlife: interpreting tissue concentrations. SETAC special publication series. Boca Raton: Lewis Publishers; 1996. pp. 341–56.Google Scholar
- U.S. ATSDR. Toxicological profile for mercury. Atlanta: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Department of Health and Human Services; 1999.Google Scholar
- U.S. EPA. Mercury study report to congress, vol. VII: Characterization of human health and wildlife risks from mercury exposure in the United States. Washington: Office of Research and Development; 1997.Google Scholar
- U.S. EPA. EPA National Listing of Fish Advisories. Washington: Office of Water. 2009. EPA-823-F-09-007. http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/fishadvisories/tech2008.cfm. Accessed 30 Jan 2011.
- U.S. NHANES. Mean body weight, height, and body mass index, United States 1960–2002. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2004.Google Scholar
- Wren CD. Probable case of mercury poisoning in a wild otter, Lutra canadensis, in Northwestern Ontario. Can Field Naturalist. 1985;99:112–4.Google Scholar