Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology

Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and evaluation of hematological and immunological effects of PCB exposure on turtles.

PMID 22430883


Concentrations of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Aroclor 1260, and 26 congeners were measured in liver, fat, and eggs of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) collected from ponds near or on the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), Kentucky, USA. Concentrations of total PCBs (wet mass) ranged from 0.002 to 0.480 mg/kg, 0.028 to 0.839 mg/kg, and 0.001 to 0.011 mg/kg in liver, fat, and eggs, respectively. Concentrations of Arochlor 1260 did not exceed 0.430, 0.419, and 0.007 mg/kg in liver, fat, and eggs, respectively. Exposure to PCBs in red-eared sliders collected from the PGDP is characterized by low concentrations of moderately chlorinated mono-ortho and di-ortho congeners (PCB 153, 180, and 118). Although PCB concentrations measured in the current study were low, chronic exposure to PCBs may have altered hematology and immunity of the turtles examined. Total white blood cell count and number of heterophils were negatively correlated with concentrations of total PCBs and Arochlor 1260, respectively. However, disease and other contaminants in the study area may influence the results. Because little is known regarding the influence of PCBs on hematology and immune function in turtles, additional study is needed to better evaluate results observed in the current study.