Mercury and selenium concentrations in skeletal muscle, liver, and regions of the heart and kidney in bearded seals from Alaska, USA.
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Mean concentrations of total mercury ([THg]) and selenium ([TSe]) (mass and molar-based) were determined for 5 regions of the heart and 2 regions of the kidney of bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) harvested in Alaska, USA, in 2010 and 2011. Mean [THg] and [TSe] of bearded seal liver and skeletal muscle tissues were used for intertissular comparison. The Se:Hg molar ratios were used to investigate elemental associations and potential antioxidant protection against Hg toxicosis. Age was an important factor in [THg] and Se:Hg molar ratios in heart and kidney. Small but statistically significant differences in mean [THg] occurred among some of the 5 heart regions (p < 0.05). Mean [THg] was highest in liver, 3.057g/g, and lowest in heart left ventricle, 0.017g/g. Mean [THg] ranked: liver > kidney cortex > kidney medulla > skeletal muscle > heart left ventricle (p < 0.001). Mean [TSe] was highest in liver, 3.848g/g, and lowest in heart left ventricle, 0.632g/g. Mean [TSe] ranked: liver > kidney cortex > kidney medulla > skeletal muscle > heart left ventricle (p < 0.001). The Se:Hg molar ratios were significantly greater than 1.0 in all tissues (p < 0.001) and represented baselines for normal [TSe] under relatively low [THg]. Mean Se:Hg molar ratios ranked: heart left ventricle > kidney medulla > kidney cortex (p < 0.001).
author list (cited authors)
Correa, L., Castellini, J. M., Quakenbush, L. T., & O'Hara, T. M.