How does the greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura russula, responds to long-term heavy metal contamination? - A case study

Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Departamento Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
Science of The Total Environment (Impact Factor: 4.1). 05/2007; 376(1-3):128-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.01.061
Source: PubMed


Heavy metals accumulation in parallel with the evaluation of physiological and biochemical effects resulting from continued metal exposure were considered here using for the first time the great white-toothed shrew Crocidura russula as an in vivo model. Shrews were originated from an abandoned lead/zinc mining area and from a reference area, both in Alentejo, southern Portugal. Hepatic contents of nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, mercury and lead were quantified by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS). Haematological parameters (white blood cells, red blood cells, haemoglobin and haematocrit) were obtained in a Coulter Counter Analyser and biochemical markers of the redox balance (glutathione S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase) activities were measured spectrophotometrically using a Duo-50 spectrophotometer. Compared with control animals, significantly higher concentration of hepatic cadmium (9.29 vs. 1.18 micorg/g dry weight) and nickel (1.56 vs. 0.343 microg/g dry weight) were detected in the shrews collected in the mining area. However, no significant changes were observed on haematological or enzymatic parameters in animals exposed to metal pollution. The obtained results show that shrews are good bioaccumulators of toxic heavy metals, but very tolerant to their effects, revealing an interesting long-term adaptation to polluted environments. In addition, this study provides reference values for haematological parameters and antioxidant enzymes levels in C. russula, which may be relevant for comparative purposes in further studies.

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    • "Additionally, they have a widespread occurrence, have a limited home range, generalized food habits, short life span, high reproductive rate and are easily collected. Small mammals are more exposed to environmental contaminants than large mammals due to their small body size and high metabolic rate (Reinecke et al., 2000; Marques et al., 2007; Sánchez-Chardi and Nadal, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2009; Sanchez-Chardi and Nadal, 2007; Sánchez-Chardi and Lopez-Fuster, "
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    ABSTRACT: Samples from receptor organisms (small mammals, passerine birds) and their food sources (herbaceous plants, leaves and fruits of wood plants, earthworms) were collected during 2011-2014 from the vicinity of a former lead smelter, from the vicinity of the largest Slovenian thermal power plant, from along a state road and also from a reference area. The samples were then analysed to determine the degree of contamination with the metals (Pb, Cd, Zn, Hg, Cu, Mo) and with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This study provides the first data on metal and PAH exposure to small mammals and passerine birds in southeast Europe, focussing on the transfer of metals and PAHs through the food chain and on risk assessment for differently polluted areas in Slovenia. The results indicate that: (i) earthworms and herbaceous plants (especially roots) can be a source of metal exposure for organisms higher in the food chain; (ii) a risk from Pb and Cd (HQ>1) in the vicinity of the former lead smelter exists for Myodes glareolus feeding in part on roots and for Apodemus flavicollis and Parus major feeding in part on earthworms; and (iii) mean Pb and Cd concentrations in the liver of small mammal species inhabiting the vicinity of the lead smelter reach effect concentrations in a significant proportion of the specimens (Pb: 40%, Cd: 67%); (iv) the results for P. major confirm that the study area is exposed to Pb, Cd, Hg; (v) metals contribute the major part of the total risk for receptor organisms from vicinity of lead smelter. On the contrary, the risk of PAHs for small mammals trapped close to the state road is insignificant. We can summarize, that the hazards experienced by the local ecosystem due to metal exposure may persist for decades in the vicinity of large emission sources (especially smelters). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Science of The Total Environment 11/2015; 532. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.05.076 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    • "Terrestrial small mammals (shrews, moles, voles, mice) fulfil the basic requirements for use in biomonitoring and ecotoxicological studies (Reinecke et al. 2000; Marques et al. 2007; Sánchez-Chardi et al. 2007a, b, c, 2009; Sánchez-Chardi and Nadal 2007; Sánchez-Chardi and López-Fuster 2009; Adham et al. 2011; Okati and Rezaee 2013). They have widespread occurrence, a limited home range, generalized food habits, short life span, high reproductive rates and are easily collected. "
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    ABSTRACT: The transfer of lead, cadmium, zinc, mercury, copper and molybdenum from soil to the tissues of small mammals inhabiting differently polluted areas in Slovenia was investigated. Metals were determined in soil samples and in the livers of 139 individuals of five small mammal species, collected in 2012 in the vicinity of a former lead smelter, the largest Slovenian thermal power plant, along a main road and in a control area. The area in the vicinity of former lead smelter differs considerably from other study areas. The soil from that area is heavily polluted with Pb and Cd. The mean metal concentrations in the liver, irrespective of species, varied in the following ranges-Pb: 0.40-7.40 mg/kg fw and Cd: 0.27-135 mg/kg fw and reached effect concentrations at which toxic effects can be expected in a significant proportion of the livers of the small mammal specimens (Pb 40 %, Cd 67 %). These findings indicate that the majority of small mammals trapped in the area of the former lead smelter are at risk of toxic effects due to the very high bioaccumulation of Pb and Cd in the organism. On the contrary, Pd and Cd concentrations in the livers of small mammals sampled in the vicinity of the thermal power plant and along the main road were comparable with reference values and considerably lower than effect concentrations. Additionally, the study suggests that Apodemus flavicollis and Myodes glareolus are very suitable biomonitors of metal pollution.
    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 03/2014; 186(7). DOI:10.1007/s10661-014-3696-7 · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    • "Available information of the ability of wild species, to exhibit symptoms of clinical stress in response to the environmental insult imposed upon them, is still insufficient. Until recently, there were only some attempts to introduce blood biochemical techniques into toxicology studies on wild small mammals (Talmage and Walton, 1991; Celik et al., 1996; Górriz et al., 1996; Stahl, 1997; Weber et al., 2002; Topashka-Ancheva et al., 2003; Viegas-Crespo et al., 2003; Marques et al., 2007; Afshar et al., 2008; Celik and Suzek, 2008; Fox et al., 2008). As a matter of fact, the combined use of biomarkers with bioaccumulation data provides a suitable measure of the health status and physiological responses of animal populations to pollution (S ´ wiergosz-Kowalewska et al., 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: The stress profiles of the hemogram and serum biochemistry were determined in the context of heavy metal (Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb) exposure in the wild libyan jird, Meriones libycus, from one of Riyadh's polluted areas versus a reference site. Coupling the pronounced drop in platelets (PLT) (28%) and mean platelet volume (MPV) (17%) with the insignificant responses of other red blood cell indices, suggests bone marrow suppression that is characterized by thrombocytopenia as an initial abnormality. The species-specific stress leukogram for M. libycus is expressed by leukocytosis (66%), monocytosis (40%), lymphocytosis (23%) with eosinopenia (81%) and neutropenia (42%). Hyperglycemia (50%), hyper-low-density-lipoproteinemia (38%), hypocortisolism (85%) and hypotriglyceridemia (55%) depicted serum biochemistry profile. In polluted jirds, the elevated activities of pseudocholinesterase (PChE) and serum marker enzymes (alanine aminotransferase ALT, aspartate aminotransferase AST and creatine kinase CK) strongly suggest functional damage of the liver and/or heart. A potential role of PChE in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) metabolism is implied in the joint rise of both indices and in the recognized relationship between PChE and lipid metabolites. While increased utilization in lipid metabolism and energy synthesis could rationalize the inhibition of the normal patterns of triglycerides and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), the inhibited activities of LDH could additionally be attributed to its hormetic behavior towards low and high metal concentrations. The overall findings presented here documented the relevance of M. libycus in biomonitoring and predicting the risk imposed on human populations living in polluted areas.
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