Environmentally relevant mixed exposures to radiation and heavy metals induce measurable stress responses in Atlantic salmon.
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These experiments were designed to identify stress effects in 3 key organs in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar, L.) after exposure in vivo to very low doses of radiation, and subtoxic levels of aluminum (Al) and cadmium (Cd) alone or in combination. Six fish per group were sacrificed after exposure and the anterior kidney, fin, and gill were dissected and sentfor assay of bystander signal production as a stress response end point. Radiation doses as low as 4 mGy delivered over 5 h, alone or in combination with Cd and/or Al, caused bystander signals to be produced in tissues harvested from in vivo exposed salmon. The effects vary among different organs and are not consistently additive or synergistic for a given treatment although gill cells do show high degrees of synergism between radiation and metal exposure. Data for individual fish did not suggest any systemic sensitivity to the stressors. Interestingly, the data for Cd suggest that lower toxicity is found when the metal is used in combination with radiation exposure. Expression of two proteins associated with survival responses (Bcl-2) or death responses (cmyc) after radiation was measured in the tissue cultures and showed a highly significant correlation with response outcome. The results, although complex, indicate that these stress signal responses may aid in the mechanistic investigation of mixed contaminant effects in fish exposed to metals and radiation.
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