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Embryotoxicity refers to lethality and teratogenicity (ex: reduced growth, shortened limbs, skeletal abnormalities, beak defects, foot deformities, altered organ sizes, heart deformities, microphthalmia, liver necrosis).
DLC-induced embryolethality has been demonstrated in several species of birds using egg injection studies, which mimic maternal deposition of chemicals to the egg. Dose-dependent increases in the embryotoxic effects of TCDD, PeCDF, TCDF, PCB 77 and PCB 126 were demonstrated in egg injection studies conducted with chicken, American kestrel, bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus), common tern, double-crested cormorant, eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), Japanese quail, ring-necked pheasant and turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) embryos. In all cases the chicken was observed to be much more sensitive than other species. The mono-ortho PCBs 70, 105, 118, 156 and 157 also increased the incidence of mortality in chicken embryos, however these compounds were approximately 3 orders of magnitude less potent than PCB 126.
Examination of avian embryos and chicks both in controlled laboratory settings and in the wild has linked DLC exposure with a number of developmental abnormalities including reduced growth, shortened limbs, skeletal abnormalities, beak defects, foot deformities, altered organ sizes, heart deformities, microphthalmia, liver necrosis, hemorrhage and edema. As was observed with embryolethality, chicken embryos were highly sensitive to the teratogenic effects of PCBs in comparison to other species.
How It Is Measured or Detected
Evidence Supporting Taxonomic Applicability
- Brunström, B. (1989). Toxicity of coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls in avian embryos. Chemosphere 19, 765-768.
- Brunström, B., and Andersson, L. (1988). Toxicity and 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase-inducing potency of coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in chick embryos. Archives of Toxicology 62, 263-266.
- Brunström, B., and Lund, J. (1988). Differences between chick and turkey embryos in sensitivity to 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl and in concentration/affinity of the hepatic receptor for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Comp.Biochem.Physiol.C.Toxicol.Pharmacol. 91, 507-512.
- Brunström, B., and Reutergårdh, L. (1986). Differences in sensitivity of some avian species to the embryotoxicity of a PCB, 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl, injected into the eggs. Environmental Pollution 42, 37-45.
- Cohen-Barnhouse, A. M., Zwiernik, M. J., Link, J. E., Fitzgerald, S. D., Kennedy, S. W., Hervé, J. C., Giesy, J. P., Wiseman, S. B., Yang, Y., Jones, P. D., Wan, Y., Collins, B., Newsted, J. L., Kay, D. P., and Bursian, S. J. (2011b). Sensitivity of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), Common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), and White Leghorn chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) embryos to in ovo exposure to TCDD, PeCDF, and TCDF. Toxicol.Sci. 119, 93-103.
- Hoffman, D. J., Melancon, M. J., Klein, P. N., Eisemann, J. D., and Spann, J. W. (1998). Comparative developmental toxicity of planar polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in chickens, American kestrels, and common terns. Environ.Toxicol.Chem. 17, 747-757.
- Hoffman, D. J., Rice, C. P., and Kubiak, T. J. (1996). PCBs and Dioxins in Birds. In Environmental Contaminants in Wildlife: Interpreting Tissue Concentrations (W. N. Beyer, G. H. Heinz, and A. W. Redmon-Norwood, Eds.), pp. 165-207. CRC Press.
- Powell, D. C., Aulerich, R. J., Meadows, J. C., Tillitt, D. E., Giesy, J. P., Stromborg, K. L., and Bursian, S. J. (1996). Effects of 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126) and 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) injected into the yolks of chicken (Gallus domesticus) eggs prior to incubation. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 31, 404-409.
- Powell, D. C., Aulerich, R. J., Meadows, J. C., Tillitt, D. E., Kelly, M. E., Stromborg, K. L., Melancon, M. J., Fitzgerald, S. D., and Bursian, S. J. (1998). Effects of 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin injected into the yolks of double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) eggs prior to incubation. Environ.Toxicol.Chem. 17, 2035-2040.
- Thiel, David A., Martin, Stephen G., Duncan, James W., Lemke, Michael J., Lance, William R., and Peterson, Richard E. Evaluation of the effects of dioxin-contaminated sludges on wild birds. Environmental Conference, Proceedings of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry , 487-507. 1988.
- Brunström, B. (1990). Mono-ortho-chlorinated chlorobiphenyls: toxicity and induction of 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity in chick embryos. Archives of Toxicology 64, 188-192.
- Brunström, B. (1988). Sensitivity of embryos from duck, goose, herring gull, and various chicken breeds to 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl. Poultry science 67, 52-57.
- Cohen-Barnhouse, A. M., Zwiernik, M. J., Link, J. E., Fitzgerald, S. D., Kennedy, S. W., Giesy, J. P., Wiseman, S., Jones, P. D., Newsted, J. L., Kay, D., and Bursian, S. J. (2011a). Developmental and posthatch effects of in ovo exposure to 2,3,7,8-TCDD, 2,3,4,7,8-PECDF, and 2,3,7,8-TCDF in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), and white leghorn chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) embryos. Environ.Toxicol.Chem. 30, 1659-1668.
- Gilbertson, M., and Fox, G. A. (1977). Pollutant associated embryonic mortality of Great Lakes herring gulls. Environmental Pollution 12, 211-216.
- Gilbertson, M., Kubiak, T. J., Ludwig, J., and Fox, G. A. (1991). Great Lakes embryo mortality, edema, and deformities syndrome (GLEMEDS) in colonical fish-eating birds: Similarity to chick-edema disease. J.Toxicol.Environ.Health 33, 455-520.
- Harris, M. L., and Elliott, J. E. (2011). Effects of Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Wild Birds. In Environmental Contaminants in Biota (J. P. Meador, Ed.), pp. 477-528. CRC Press.
- Lavoie, E. T., and Grasman, K. A. (2007). Effects of in ovo exposure to PCBs 126 and 77 on mortality, deformities and post-hatch immune function in chickens. J.Toxicol.Environ.Health A 70, 547-558.
- Letcher, R. J., Bustnes, J. O., Dietz, R., Jenssen, B. M., Jørgensen, E. H., Sonne, C., Verreault, J., Vijayan, M. M., and Gabrielsen, G. W. (2010). Exposure and effects assessment of persistent organohalogen contaminants in arctic wildlife and fish. Sci.Total Environ. 408, 2995-3043.
- Walker, M. K., and Catron, T. F. (2000). Characterization of cardiotoxicity induced by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and related chemicals during early chick embryo development. Toxicol.Appl.Pharmacol. 167, 210-221.