Developmental toxicity of in ovo exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls: II. Effects of maternal or paternal exposure on second-generation nestling American kestrels

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Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry





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The development of second-generation nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) was altered by in ovo exposure of only one parent to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Polychlorinated biphenyls appear to alter nestling development through both maternally and paternally mediated effects. In I998, F0 parent kestrels consumed approximately 5 to 7 μg total PCBs/g bird/d (Aroclors® 1248:1254: 1260) for approximately 100 d prior to eggs hatching; these eggs, containing total PCB concentrations of 34.1 μg/g, produced 13 F1 offspring, which were then paired in 1999 with unexposed kestrels to examine developmental effects of maternal or paternal in ovo PCB exposure. Using a toxicokinetics model, eggs from the maternally exposed group had predicted PCB levels of 0.03 to 0.34 μg/g, with enriched higher chlorinated congeners. Polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in eggs of all generations have recently been found in eggs and nestlings of free-ranging eagles. Consistent with the first generation, maternally exposed F2 females generally were larger, had altered growth rates, and delayed maximal growth and fledging compared with control females. Maternally exposed F2 males were heavier but had shorter bones, grew more quickly and earlier, and fledged 2 d later than control males. In the maternally exposed group, concentrations of plasma triiodothyronine were elevated in F2 females but suppressed in F2 males. Paternally exposed F2 hatchlings of both sexes were comparable in size to controls with the exception of having longer tarsi bones, but subsequently showed slower, delayed growth (both sexes) and fledging (females) and lower thyroxine concentrations (males). The alterations in thyroid hormones in the F2 generation are discussed in light of the enrichment of higher chlorinated PCB congeners and hydroxylated PCB congeners. The developmental changes in the kestrel nestlings are likely a function of several possible mechanisms involving maternal PCB deposition, parental behavior, and neurobehavioral and endocrine-thyroid function in nestlings.