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Lifelong Exposure to PCBs in the Remote Norwegian Arctic Disrupts the Plasma Stress Metabolome in Arctic Charr

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journal contribution
posted on 13.12.2017, 00:00 by Patrick T. Gauthier, Anita Evenset, Guttorm N. Christensen, Even H. Jorgensen, Mathilakath M. Vijayan
Lake Ellasjøen on the remote Norwegian island of Bjørnøya is populated by Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) having 20-fold higher body burdens of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) compared to charr from the neighboring Lake Laksvatn. This provides a natural setting to test the hypothesis that lifelong exposure to PCBs compromises the energy metabolism in this northernmost living salmonid. To test this, blood was sampled from charr from both lakes immediately after capture and following a 1 h handling and confinement stressor to assess possible differences in their energy metabolism and energy substrate mobilization, respectively. The plasma metabolome of charr was assessed by metabolite detection/separation with LC-MS. Plasma metabolite profiles revealed differences in key pathways involved in amino acid metabolism between charr from each lake, underscoring an impact of PCBs on energy metabolism in Arctic charr residing in Lake Ellasjøen. Subjecting charr from either lake to an acute stressor altered the plasma metabolite profiles and revealed distinct stress metabolome in Lake Ellasjøen charr, suggesting a reduced metabolic capacity. Taken together, lifelong exposure to PCBs in Ellasjøen charr disrupts the plasma metabolome, and may impair the adaptive metabolic response to stressors, leading to a reduced fitness.