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Metal–Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mixture Toxicity in Hyalella azteca. 2. Metal Accumulation and Oxidative Stress as Interactive Co-toxic Mechanisms

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journal contribution
posted on 06.10.2015, 00:00 by Patrick T. Gauthier, Warren P. Norwood, Ellie E. Prepas, Greg G. Pyle
Mixtures of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are commonly found in aquatic environments. Emerging reports have identified that more-than-additive mortality is common in metal–PAH mixtures. Individual aspects of PAH toxicity suggest they may alter the accumulation of metals and enhance metal-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS). Redox-active metals (e.g., Cu and Ni) are also capable of enhancing the redox cycling of PAHs. Accordingly, we explored the mutual effects redox-active metals and PAHs have on oxidative stress, and the potential for PAHs to alter the accumulation and/or homeostasis of metals in juvenile Hyalella azteca. Amphipods were exposed to binary mixtures of Cu, Cd, Ni, or V, with either phen­anthrene (PHE) or phen­anthrene­quinone (PHQ). Mixture of Cu with either PAH produced striking more-than-additive mortality, whereas all other mixtures amounted to strictly additive mortality following 18-h exposures. We found no evidence to suggest that interactive effects on ROS production were involved in the more-than-additive mortality of Cu-PHE and Cu-PHQ mixtures. However, PHQ increased the tissue concentration of Cu in juvenile H. azteca, providing a potential mechanism for the observed more-than-additive mortality.