Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 1956
Title: A novel marker for chronic domoic acid exposure identified in zebrafish and validated in sea lions
Author: K. A. Lefebvre, Elizabeth Rose Frame, F. Gulland, J. D. Hansen, Preston Kendrick, Richard P. Beyer, Theo K. Bammler, Frederico M. Farin, Emma M. Hiolski, D. Smith, David J. Marcinek
Publication Year: 2012
Journal: Journal of Shellfish Research
Volume: 31
Issue: 1
Pages: 311-311
Keywords: Zebrafish,Sea Lions

There is a critical knowledge gap regarding the impacts of chronic low-level exposure to common environmental toxins such as the neurotoxic amino acid domoic acid (DA), a phycotoxin naturally produced during harmful algal blooms (HABs).  Accumulation of DA in the food web poses significant health threats to humans and wildlife and is responsible for a neurotoxic illness known as amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP).  Regular monitoring of DA levels in edible shellfish tissues has been effective in protecting human consumers from acute DA exposure.  However, there is no protection from chronic low-level DA exposure, which may pose significant human health risks, particularly in coastal and tribal communities that subsistence harvest shellfish known to contain low levels of the toxin.  Using a zebrafish chronic exposure model, we have identified a biomarker specific for chronic low-level domoic acid exposure and that chronic exposure increases toxin susceptibility in subsequent exposures.  We have further confirmed the presence of the biomarker in naturally exposed California sea lions.  Our next steps are to translate the diagnostic tools developed in these sentinel species to platforms for human health diagnostics.

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