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FROUIN, H., M. LEBEUF, M. HAMMILL, M. FOURNIER, 2012. Transfer of PBDEs and chlorinated POPs from mother to pup during lactation in Harp Seals Phoca groenlandica. Sci. Total Environ., 417-418 : 98-107 .
Seven mother–pup pairs of harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) were sampled during the lactation season near Magdalen Islands, QC, Canada. The blubber and serum of pups and mothers as well as the milk of mothers were analyzed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers and several chlorinated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to evaluate their transfer prior to weaning. Principal component analysis demonstrated significant variations in contaminant distribution patterns between seal tissues of mothers and pups. The selectivity in the transfer of POPs between mothers and pups appeared mainly driven by their log Kow (octanol/water partition coefficient). The most selective transfer step for the POPs examined occurred between the blubber and the serum of the mother. A novel approach to examine temporal changes of POP concentrations in tissues of sealswhich take into account the contamination ofmothers was developed. A general decrease of POP concentrations in pup tissues throughout lactationmay suggest a growth dilution. A concomitant rise of POP concentrationswas observed inmaternal blubber and serumand in milk as lactation progresses. The intensive offloading of contaminants via lactation constitutes a major but selective excretory route for reproductive female seals and also a significant route of exposure for suckling pup seals.©2012 Elsevier B.V.
Knowledge on pinniped immunology is still in its infancy. For instance, age-related and developmental aspects of the immune system in pinnipeds need to be better described. The present study examined the phagocytic activity and efficiency of harbour, grey and harp seal leukocytes. In the first part of the study, peripheral blood was collected from captive female harbour seals of various ages. Data showed an age-related decrease in phagocytosis in female harbour seals from sub-adult to adulthood. In the second part of the study, changes in phagocytosis were quantified during lactation in wild newborn harbour, grey and harp seals and in their mothers (harp and grey seals). In newborns of the same age, leukocytes of harbour and harp seals phagocytosed less than those of grey seal pups. The phagocytic activity and efficiency increased significantly from early to mid-lactation in newborn harbour seals, and from early to late lactation in newborn grey seals, which could suggest that the transfer of phagocytosis-promoting factor(s) in colostrum is an important feature of temporary protection for pups. In contrast, no changes in phagocytic activity and efficiency were observed in lactating females of the two seal species, harp and grey, examined. At late lactation, phagocytic activity in both grey and harp seal pups and phagocytic efficiency in grey seal pups were significantly higher than in their mothers. These results could reflect either the capacity of phagocytes of the newborn harp and grey seals to respond to pathogens. Results from this study suggest that the phagocytosis of the seal species examined is not fully developed at birth as it generally increases in pups during lactation. Thereafter, the phagocytic activity of seals appears to decrease throughout adulthood.©2009 Elsevier B.V.
FROUIN, H., M. LEBEUF, R. SAINT-LOUIS, M. HAMMILL, É. PELLETIER, M. FOURNIER, 2008. Toxic effects of tributyltin and its metabolites on harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) immune cells in vitro. Aquat. Toxicol., 90(3): 243-251 .
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