Concentrations of vitamin A, E, thyroid and testosterone hormones in blood plasma and tissues from emaciated adult male Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) dietary exposed to persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships and effects of oral POP exposure on retinol (vitamin A), α-tocopherol (vitamin E), thyroid hormones and testosterone in emaciated adult farmed Arctic foxes. Eight brother-pairs were exposed to either a diet containing naturally POP-contaminated minke whale blubber (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) (n=8), or a control diet containing pig (Sus scrofa) fat as the primary fat source (n=8) for 22 months. In the whale blubber containing feed the ΣPOPs concentration was 802 ng/g w.w. and it was 24 ng/g w.w. in control feed. The liver mass was significantly higher and the ratio of FT4 (free thyroxine):FT3 (free triiodothyronine) was significantly lower in the POP exposed group as compared to the control group given feed with pig fat (both p<0.05). The exposed group revealed lower plasma and liver concentrations of α-tocopherol compared to the control group (both p<0.05). These results indicate that plasma FT4:FT3 ratio and plasma and liver α-tocopherol are valuable biomarker endpoints for chronic oral POP exposure in wild Arctic foxes. Based on this we suggest that plasma FT4:FT3 ratio and plasma and liver α-tocopherol are valuable biomarker endpoints for chronic POP exposure in wildlife Arctic foxes and that these perturbations may affect their health status.