CONSTITUENTS WITHIN PULP MILL EFFLUENT DEPLETE RETINOID STORES IN WHITE SUCKER AND BIND TO RAINBOW TROUT RETINOIC ACID RECEPTORS AND RETINOID X RECEPTORS
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Wild female and male white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) inhabiting an area receiving pulp mill effluent had reduced hepatic levels of retinol, didehydroretinol, retinyl esters, and didehydroretinyl esters, while vitamin E levels were unaffected. This disruption of the retinoid system led us to test methanol and dichloromethane extracts from the effluent of 11 pulp mills from across Canada for their ability to bind to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) retinoic acid receptors (RARs) from the gill and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) from the liver. Concentrated extracts of the final effluent from 6 of the 11 pulp mills were able to displace greater than 25% of the receptor-bound [3H]all-trans retinoic acid (RA) or [3H]9-cis RA from trout RARs and RXRs, respectively. The ability of the extracts to displace retinoic acid did not appear to be linked to the pulping or treatment processes. Moreover, extracts with the greatest activity came from thermomechanical mills, suggesting the compounds may originate from the wood furnish. In addition, extracts prepared from wood furnish (wood chips: white spruce [50%], lodgepole pine [47%], and balsam fir [3%]) from one mill were able to displace [3H]RA from the RARs and RXRs. The 4-hydroxy RA, a metabolite of RA that has been shown to be generated in greater quantities in fish exposed to P450-inducing xenobiotics, was able to displace [3H]all-trans RA from trout RARs as effectively as unlabeled all-trans RA. These results suggest that pulp mill effluent may impact the retinoid system of fish at multiple sites, either by decreasing hepatic retinoid stores or through contributing additional ligands (from the wood furnish) that can bind to RA receptors.
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