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      Organochlorine-associated immunosuppression in prefledgling Caspian terns and herring gulls from the Great Lakes: an ecoepidemiological study.

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      Environmental Health Perspectives

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          Abstract

          The objectives of study were to determine whether contaminant-associated immunosuppression occurs in prefledgling herring gulls and Caspian terns from the Great Lakes and to evaluate immunological biomarkers for monitoring health effects in wild birds. During 1992 to 1994, immunological responses and related variables were measured in prefledgling chicks at colonies distributed across a broad gradient of organochlorine contamination (primarily polychlorinated biphenyls), which was measured in eggs. The phytohemagglutinin skin test was used to assess T-lymphocyte function. In both species, there was a strong exposure-response relationship between organochlorines and suppressed T-cell-mediated immunity. Suppression was most severe (30-45%) in colonies in Lake Ontario (1992) and Saginaw Bay (1992-1994) for both species and in western Lake Erie (1992) for herring gulls. Both species exhibited biologically significant differences among sites in anti-sheep red blood cells antibody titers, but consistent exposure-response relationships with organochlorines were not observed. In Caspian terns and, to a lesser degree, in herring gulls, there was an exposure-response relationship between organochlorines and reduced plasma retinol (vitamin A). In 1992, altered White blood cell numbers were associated with elevated organochlorine concentrations in Caspian terns but not herring gulls. The immunological and hematological biomarkers used in this study revealed contaminant-associated health effects in wild birds. An epidemiological analysis strongly supported the hypothesis that suppression of T-cell-mediated immunity was associated with high perinatal exposure to persistent organochlorine contaminants.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Environ Health Perspect
          Environmental Health Perspectives
          0091-6765
          August 1996
          : 104
          : Suppl 4
          : 829-842
          Affiliations
          Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia.
          Article
          1469670
          8880006
          73407b07-19e1-4b6a-abf4-959ba2c9e311
          Categories
          Research Article

          Public health
          Public health

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