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Newsletter—May 2011

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Recent Advisory News

Fish Oil Diet May Help Fight Diabetes and Heart Disease

Recent research involving an Alaskan native tribe suggests that people who consume more omega-3 fatty acids may be at a lower risk of developing obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, even if they are overweight. The Yup’ik Eskimos have a traditional diet that includes large amounts of fatty fish, and on average they consume 20 times more omega-3 fats from fish than people in the lower 48 states. However, obesity did not increase the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease among the study participants with high blood levels of omega-3 fats.

Link to original article: http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-032511-fredhutchfishstudy,0,4282998.story.

Source: Q13 Fox News (Seattle, WA), 03/25/2011.

Harvard Toenail Study Shows Heart Benefits from Fish Beat Risk of Mercury

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed people’s toenail clippings for mercury and found that the health benefits from eating fish outweigh the potential risks of ingesting mercury. Although ingestion of mercury can increase the risk of heart disease, consumption of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is beneficial for cardiovascular health. This study found that higher mercury exposure didn’t boost the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke or cardiovascular disease. “These findings suggest that people need not worry about cardiovascular harm from mercury exposure when deciding whether or not to consume fish,” Dariush Mozaffarian, the lead author, said in a statement. The authors did point out that this study’s results shouldn’t alter public-health and policy efforts to lower mercury contamination in fish and the environment. “Our findings should also not alter advisories directed toward women who are or may become pregnant or who are nursing,” the researchers said in the report, citing the potential for neurodevelopmental harm to children from mercury.

Link to original article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-23/harvard-toenail-study-shows-mercury-from-eating-fish-not-a-heart-risk.html

Source: Bloomberg (NY), 3/23/2011‎.

Fish With High Levels of Mercury Pose Health Concerns in Montana

The Sierra Club has teamed up with a hair salon in Missoula, Montana to help women of childbearing age determine if they have elevated levels of mercury. Hair stylists snipped a small amount of hair from the volunteers and sent it for testing. The women will be able to find out the results of the mercury test, along with advice on which fish species to eat or avoid. Montana’s environmental health director Jim Carlson said that Montana’s lake trout, large brown trout, large walleye and northern pike have higher levels of mercury, along with large commercially-available ocean fish like shark, swordfish and king mackerel.

Link to original article: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/27378046/detail.html

Source: NBCMontana.com (MT), 3/30/2011.

On Southland piers, warning that more fish species are tainted

Los Angeles county authorities are warning fishers who frequent ocean piers that there are 4 new species on the “do not eat” advisory list. Between Santa Monica and Seal Beach, barracuda, topsmelt, black croaker and barred sand bass now join white croaker on the list of species that are considered unsafe to eat due to contamination by DDT, PCBs, and mercury. Pier anglers, mostly low-income Latinos and Asians from inland communities who catch fish to supplement their diet, are not always aware that eating fish with elevated contaminant levels can lead to cancer, developmental problems and neurological damage. A nonprofit group called Heal the Bayhas been sending out bilingual outreach workers to talk to fishers about the advisory and distributing informational cards with illustrations of the fish species to avoid.

Link to original article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pier-fish-20110417,0,2160240.story

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA), 3/17/ 2011.

Gulf Coast seafood safe enough to eat?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently invited the media into their seafood safety lab in Pascagoula, MS, almost one year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began. In the past year, NOAA has tested about 10,000 fish caught in federal Gulf waters (those caught in state waters are tested by the Food and Drug Administration[FDA]). The fish are tested for hydrocarbons and also undergo sensory analysis for smell and taste. In the past year only two fish have failed, resulting in the area of the Gulf they came from remaining closed to fishing. The testing in still being conducted, even though all federal Gulf waters are now open for fishing, except for the 30-mile by 30-mile grid that contains the sealed-off Deepwater Horizon well head.

Link to original article: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500803_162-20055080-500803.html

Source: CBS News, 4/18/2011.

Recent Publications

Please note: The following abstracts are reprinted verbatim unless otherwise noted.

The relationship between Adirondack lake pH and levels of mercury in yellow perch

Levels of total mercury in yellow perch Perca flavescens from Adirondack lakes were studied in relation to characteristics of the lakes to determine why some lakes had fish with higher concentrations of mercury. Almost all mercury in fish is in the form of methylmercury, which can pose significant health hazards to humans who consume such fish. Fish mercury concentrations and water chemistry data were analyzed from eight Adirondack lakes. Four lakes (Halfmoon Lake, Sand Pond, Rock Pond, and Upper Sister Lake) had pH values of less than 5.0. Four other lakes (Lake Adirondack, Kings Flow, Harris Lake, and Lake Kushaqua) had pH values of more than 7.0. The acidic lakes also had high levels of aluminum and low acid-neutralizing capacity relative to the neutral lakes. Yellow perch (n = 100) from the acidic lakes had significantly higher levels of mercury than did those (n = 102) from the neutral lakes (P < 0.001), and the total mercury concentration increased with both length and weight of the fish. We conclude that the pH of the lake water is a major factor in determining the concentration of methylmercury in yellow perch.

Source: Brown, D., A. Goncharov, et al. (2010). "The relationship between Adirondack lake pH and levels of mercury in yellow perch." J Aquat Anim Health 22(4): 280-290.

Necrophagy by a benthic omnivore influences biomagnification of methylmercury in fish

Omnivory has an important role in the movement of energy, nutrients, and contaminants between benthic and pelagic food webs. While top-predator fish are known to supplement a mostly piscivorous diet with benthic organisms, a more obscure benthic-pelagic coupling occurs when benthic invertebrates forage on fish carcasses, referred to as necrophagy. The combination of these two benthic-pelagic links, top-predator fish feeding on benthic organisms that have fed on dead fish, can generate a trophic feedback cycle that conserves energy and nutrients and may have implications for biomagnification of methylmercury (MeHg) in fish. We investigated the role of necrophagy by crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), via a trophic feedback cycle, on the biomagnification of MeHg in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), a cosmopolitan top predator fish known to feed on crayfish. Controlled laboratory tests quantified the uptake of MeHg by both organisms from artificial and natural food (whole crayfish or bass tissue). Assimilation efficiency (AE) of MeHg was greater for bass fed crayfish (79+/-0.5%) than those fed artificial food (60+/-3%). Furthermore, AE of MeHg was greatest for largemouth bass fed crayfish that fed on MeHg-dosed dead fish (i.e., trophic feedback cycle; 94+/-17%). A model, parameterized with results of the laboratory experiments, was used to make steady-state projections of MeHg biomagnification factors. Model projections also indicate that MeHg biomagnification would be greatest for largemouth bass from a trophic feedback cycle. These results suggest that food web ecology has an important role in determining MeHg levels in predatory fish and underscore the need for further investigation into the magnitude that necrophagy may affect MeHg biomagnification in aquatic systems.

Source: Bowling, A. M., C. R. Hammerschmidt, et al. (2011). "Necrophagy by a benthic omnivore influences biomagnification of methylmercury in fish." Aquat Toxicol 102(3-4): 134-141.

Development of an empirical nonlinear model for mercury bioaccumulation in the South and South Fork Shenandoah Rivers of Virginia

Mercury is a globally distributed pollutant that biomagnifies in aquatic food webs. In the United States, 3,781 water bodies fail to meet criteria for safe fish consumption due to mercury bioaccumulation. In the risk assessment and management of these impairments (through the total maximum daily load program), an important step is evaluating the relationship between aqueous mercury and mercury in fish tissue. Often, this relationship is simplified to a bioaccumulation factor (BAF): the ratio of fish tissue mercury to aqueous mercury. This article evaluates the relationship between aqueous mercury and fish tissue mercury across a contamination gradient in the South and South Fork Shenandoah rivers of Virginia. The relationship was found to be nonlinear, with BAFs decreasing as the level of contamination increased. This means that protective water column mercury concentration targets established from site-specific BAFs will be overestimated in contaminated areas and will not be sufficiently protective. To avoid this over-prediction in the South and South Fork Shenandoah rivers, an empirical nonlinear Michaelis-Menten model was used to establish a protective water-quality target. Among other models and variables, the Michaelis-Menten model, relating total mercury in the water column to methylmercury in fish tissue, achieved the best empirical fit (r (2) = 0.9562). The resulting water-quality targets using this model were 3.8 and 3.2 ng/l for the South and South Fork Shenandoah rivers, respectively. These values are 2.1-2.5 times lower than the water-quality target developed using a site-specific BAF. These findings demonstrate the need to consider nonlinear BAF relationships in mercury-contaminated areas.

Source: Brent, R. N. and D. G. Kain. (2011). "Development of an Empirical Nonlinear Model for Mercury Bioaccumulation in the South and South Fork Shenandoah Rivers of Virginia." Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2011 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print].

Polychlorinated biphenyls: persistent pollutants with immunological, neurological, and endocrinological consequences

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are considered "persistent organic pollutants;" fat-soluble compounds that bioaccumulate in individuals and bio-magnify in the food chain. PCBs were the first industrial compounds to experience a worldwide ban on production because of their potent toxicity. These compounds are still present in our food supply (fish, dairy, hamburger, and poultry being the most contaminated) and our bodies. Once in the body, they can cause long-term problems, especially for those exposed in utero. PCB bioaccumulation can lead to reduced infection fighting ability, increased rates of autoimmunity, cognitive and behavioral problems, and hypothyroidism. Some research also links PCBs to increased rates of type 2 diabetes. Testing is currently available for some of the most damaging PCBs. The testing compares individual levels to national reference values and can be interpreted to determine current exposure. Dietary measures can be enacted that will reduce PCB half-lives in humans by increasing excretion.

Source: Crinnion, W. J. (2011). "Polychlorinated biphenyls: persistent pollutants with immunological, neurological, and endocrinological consequences." Altern Med Rev 16(1): 5-13.

Protective effects of fish intake and interactive effects of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes on hip bone mineral density in older adults: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study

Polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish may influence bone health. We aimed to examine associations between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid and fish intakes and hip bone mineral density (BMD) at baseline (1988-1989; n = 854) and changes 4 y later in adults (n = 623) with a mean age of 75 y in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. BMD measures were regressed on energy-adjusted quartiles of fatty acid intakes [n-3 (omega-3): alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and EPA+ DHA; n-6 (omega-6): linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA); and n-6:n-3 ratio] and on categorized fish intakes, with adjustment for covariates. Effect modification by EPA+DHA intake was tested for n-6 exposures. High intakes (>/=3 servings/wk) of fish relative to lower intakes were associated with maintenance of femoral neck BMD (FN-BMD) in men (dark fish + tuna, dark fish, and tuna) and in women (dark fish) (P < 0.05). Significant interactions between AA and EPA+DHA intakes were observed cross-sectionally in women and longitudinally in men. In women with EPA+DHA intakes at or above the median, those with the highest AA intakes had a higher mean baseline FN-BMD than did those with the lowest intakes (quartile 4 compared with quartile 1: P = 0.03, P for trend = 0.02). In men with the lowest EPA+DHA intakes (quartile 1), those with the highest intakes of AA (quartile 4) lost more FN-BMD than did men with the lowest intakes of AA (quartile 1; P = 0.04). LA intake tended to be associated with FN-BMD loss in women (P for trend < 0.06). Fish consumption may protect against bone loss. The protective effects of a high AA intake may be dependent on the amount of EPA+DHA intake.

Source: Farina, E. K., D. P. Kiel, et al. (2011). "Protective effects of fish intake and interactive effects of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes on hip bone mineral density in older adults: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study." Am J Clin Nutr 2011 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print].

Comparative distribution, sourcing, and chemical behavior of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in an estuary environment

PCDD/F and PCB field data (1041 samples) in five media (dissolved, suspended sediment, bed sediment, catfish, and blue crab) were studied to explore dual contaminant patterns in the Houston Ship Channel, Texas, USA. PCDD/Fs showed greater concentration than PCBs in suspended sediments while PCBs were higher in apparent dissolved (truly dissolved+DOC-associated), fish, and crab. PCDD/Fs at nearly all locations contributed more strongly to dioxin-like toxicity. The fraction of PCB TEQ was, however, enriched in biotic over abiotic media due in large part to the presence of PCB 126, which was mostly undetected in water and sediment and yet exhibited a BAF three times greater than 2,3,7,8-TCDD. Dissolved-suspended sediment and suspended-bed sediment relationships showed that (1) observed apparent dissolved concentration differences (as fraction of total water were mean 10% PCDD/Fs and 63% PCBs) can reasonably be explained by a four-phase partition model (truly dissolved, DOC-associated, suspended OC, and suspended BC) for PCBs but not for PCDD/Fs and (2) the contaminants behaved similarly in bed to suspended sediment concentration ratios (C(bed)/C(susp)) upstream of a major confluence but not downstream. PCA-cluster analysis pointed to the possibility that suspended sediment PCB contamination originates from resuspended bed sediment while PCDD/Fs in suspended sediment originates more probably from other sediment sources such as upstream wash load or air deposition. Finally, examinations of a congener marker ratio (PCB 209/206) seemed to indicate that a source of pure PCB 209 may exist in bed sediment near Patrick Bayou though the source was not completely localized.

Source: Howell, N. L., H. S. Rifai, et al. (2011). "Comparative distribution, sourcing, and chemical behavior of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in an estuary environment." Chemosphere 83(6): 873-881.

Mercury exposure and risk of cardiovascular disease in two U.S. cohorts

Exposure to methylmercury from fish consumption has been linked to a potentially increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but evidence from prior studies is equivocal. Beneficial effects of the ingestion of fish and selenium may also modify such effects. Among subjects from two U.S. cohorts (a total of 51,529 men and 121,700 women) whose toenail clippings had been stored, we prospectively identified incident cases of cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke) in 3427 participants and matched them to risk-set-sampled controls according to age, sex, race, and smoking status. Toenail mercury and selenium concentrations were assessed with the use of neutron-activation analysis. Other demographic characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors, fish consumption, and lifestyle habits were assessed by means of validated questionnaires. Associations between mercury exposure and incident cardiovascular disease were evaluated with the use of conditional logistic regression. Median toenail mercury concentrations were 0.23 mug per gram (interdecile range, 0.06 to 0.94) in the case participants and 0.25 mug per gram (interdecile range, 0.07 to 0.97) in the controls. In multivariate analyses, participants with higher mercury exposures did not have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. For comparisons of the fifth quintile of mercury exposure with the first quintile, the relative risks were as follows: coronary heart disease, 0.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.69 to 1.04; P=0.10 for trend); stroke, 0.84 (95% CI, 0.62 to 1.14; P=0.27 for trend); and total cardiovascular disease, 0.85 (95% CI, 0.72 to 1.01; P=0.06 for trend). Findings were similar in analyses of participants with low selenium concentrations or low overall fish consumption and in several additional sensitivity analyses. We found no evidence of any clinically relevant adverse effects of mercury exposure on coronary heart disease, stroke, or total cardiovascular disease in U.S. adults at the exposure levels seen in this study. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).

Source: Mozaffarian, D., P. Shi, et al. (2011). "Mercury exposure and risk of cardiovascular disease in two U.S. cohorts." N Engl J Med 364(12): 1116-1125.

Fetal and maternal immune responses to methylmercury exposure: A cross-sectional study

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant with known neurodevelopmental effects. In humans, prenatal exposures primarily occur through maternal consumption of contaminated fish. In this study, we evaluated the association between prenatal exposure to MeHg and titers of total immunoglobulins (Ig) and specific autoantibodies in both mothers and fetuses by analyzing maternal and cord blood serum samples. We examined multiple immunoglobulin isotypes to determine if these biomarkers could inform as to fetal or maternal responses since IgG but not IgM can cross the placenta. Finally, we evaluated serum cytokine levels to further characterize the immune response to mercury exposure. The study was conducted using a subset of serum samples (N=61 pairs) collected from individuals enrolled in a population surveillance of MeHg exposures in the Brazilian Amazon during 2000/2001. Serum titers of antinuclear and antinucleolar autoantibodies were measured by indirect immunofluorescence. Serum immunoglobulins were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and BioPlex multiplex assay. Serum cytokines were measured by BioPlex multiplex assay. In this population, the geometric mean mercury level was within the 95th percentile for US populations of women of childbearing age but the upper level of the range was significantly higher. Fetal blood mercury levels were higher (1.35 times) than those in their mothers, but highly correlated (correlation coefficient [r]=0.71; 95% CI: 0.54, 0.89). Total IgG (r=0.40; 95% CI: 0.19, 0.62) and antinuclear autoantibody (odds ratio [OR]=1.05; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.08) levels in paired maternal and fetal samples were also associated; in contrast, other immunoglobulin (IgM, IgE, and IgA) levels were not associated between pairs. Total IgG levels were significantly correlated with both maternal (r=0.60; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.96) and cord blood mercury levels (r=0.61; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.97), but individual isotypes were not. Serum cytokines, interleukin-1beta (r=0.37; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.73), interleukin-6 (r=0.34; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.65), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (r=0.24; 95% CI: 0.015, 0.47), were positively correlated between maternal and fetal samples. Antinuclear and antinucleolar autoantibody titer and serum cytokine levels, in either maternal or cord blood, were not significantly associated with either maternal or cord blood mercury levels. These data provide further evidence that there are likely IgG biomarkers of mercury-induced immunotoxicity in this population since IgG levels were elevated with increased, and associated with, mercury exposure. However, unlike previous data from adult males and non-pregnant females, we found no evidence that antinuclear and antinucleolar autoantibody titer is a reliable biomarker of mercury immunotoxicity in this population.

Source: Nyland, J. F., S. B. Wang, et al. (2011). "Fetal and maternal immune responses to methylmercury exposure: A cross-sectional study." Environ Res 2011 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print].

Fatty acid status and maternal mental health

Maternal mental health (MMH) problems are a major public health concern with adverse consequences for women, their offspring and families. Intake of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially the n-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid, which are found predominantly in cold water fish, has been associated with a range of mental health outcomes and may improve MMH. The demands for these fatty acids are increased during pregnancy and lactation, and may influence MMH as they are integral parts of cell membranes especially in the brain and play a role in physiological processes such as membrane fluidity and neurotransmitter function. Observational studies and intervention trials that have examined the role of fatty acids and MMH disorders especially post-partum depression (PPD) were identified using Pubmed and have been reviewed. Only three well-designed large prospective studies were identified; these studies examined the relationship between dietary intakes of n-3 fatty acids and fish during pregnancy, and found limited evidence of an association with PPD. Several intervention trials (n=8) have been done but generally suffer from small sample size and vary in terms of the study subject characteristics and timing, duration and dosage of the intervention. The results are mixed, but one recently completed large trial found no evidence of benefit among women who received DHA during pregnancy. Few studies have been conducted in developing countries, and gaps remain on the influence of other nutrient deficiencies, genetic polymorphisms that influence n-3 fatty acid synthesis and total fatty acid intake.

Source: Ramakrishnan, U. (2011). "Fatty acid status and maternal mental health." Matern Child Nutr 7 Suppl 2: 99-111.

Monitoring Fish Contaminant Responses to Abatement Actions: Factors that Affect Recovery

Monitoring of contaminant accumulation in fish has been conducted in East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee since 1985. Bioaccumulation trends are examined over a twenty year period coinciding with major pollution abatement actions by a Department of Energy facility at the stream's headwaters. Although EFPC is enriched in many contaminants relative to other local streams, only polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury (Hg) were found to accumulate in the edible portions of fish to levels of human health concern. Mercury concentrations in redbreast sunfish were found to vary with season of collection, sex and size of individual fish. Over the course of the monitoring, waterborne Hg concentrations were reduced >80%; however, this did not translate into a comparable decrease in Hg bioaccumulation at most sites. Mercury bioaccumulation in fish did respond to decreased inputs in the industrialized headwater reach, but paradoxically increased in the lowermost reach of EFPC. As a result, the downstream pattern of Hg concentration in fish changed from one resembling dilution of a headwater point source in the 1980s to a uniform distribution in the 2000s. The reason for this remains unknown, but is hypothesized to involve changes in the chemical form and reactivity of waterborne Hg associated with the removal of residual chlorine and the addition of suspended particulates to the streamflow. PCB concentrations in fish varied greatly from year-to-year, but always exhibited a pronounced downstream decrease, and appeared to respond to management practices that limited episodic inputs from legacy sources within the facility.

Source: Southworth, G. R., M. J. Peterson, et al. (2011). "Monitoring Fish Contaminant Responses to Abatement Actions: Factors that Affect Recovery." Environ Manage 2011 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print].

Ontogenetic patterns in bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) feeding ecology and the effect on mercury biomagnification

In this study, bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix; age 0-7, n = 632) and their prey (forage fish, macroinvertebrates, zooplankton; n = 2,005) were collected from the Narragansett Bay estuary (RI, USA), and total Hg concentration was measured in white muscle and whole-body tissues, respectively. Bluefish Hg concentrations were analyzed relative to fish length, prey Hg content, and ontogenetic shifts in habitat use and foraging ecology, the latter assessed using stomach content analysis (n = 711) and stable nitrogen (delta(15) N) and carbon (delta(13) C) isotope measurements (n = 360). Diet and delta(13) C analysis showed that age 0 bluefish consumed both benthic and pelagic prey (silversides, sand shrimp, planktonic crustaceans; delta(13) C = - 16.52 per thousand), whereas age 1 + bluefish fed almost exclusively on pelagic forage fish (Atlantic menhaden, herring; delta(13) C = - 17.33 per thousand). Bluefish total Hg concentrations were significantly correlated with length (mean Hg = 0.041 and 0.254 ppm wet wt for age 0 and age 1 + bluefish, respectively). Furthermore, Hg biomagnification rates were maximal during bluefish early life stages and decelerated over time, resulting in relatively high Hg concentrations in age 0 fish. Rapid Hg accumulation in age 0 bluefish is attributed to these individuals occupying a comparable trophic level to age 1 + bluefish (delta(15) N = 15.58 and 16.09 per thousand; trophic level = 3.55 and 3.71 for age 0 and age 1 + bluefish, respectively), as well as juveniles having greater standardized consumption rates of Hg-contaminated prey. Finally, bluefish larger than 30 cm total length consistently had Hg levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criterion of 0.3 ppm. As such, frequent consumption of bluefish could pose a human health risk, and preferentially consuming smaller bluefish may be an inadequate strategy for minimizing human dietary exposure to Hg. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. (c) 2011 SETAC.

Source: Szczebak, J. T. and D. L. Taylor (2011). "Ontogenetic patterns in bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) feeding ecology and the effect on mercury biomagnification." Environ Toxicol Chem 2011 Mar 4. doi: 10.1002/etc.516. [Epub ahead of print].

Fish oil rich diet in comparison to saturated fat rich diet offered protection against lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in mice

Systemic chronic inflammation is linked to metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a Gram negative microbial product, triggers inflammation through toll-like-receptor-4 (TLR-4) signaling. It has been reported that dietary fatty acids also modulate inflammation through TLR-4. We investigated whether fish oil (FO) rich diet in comparison to saturated fat (SF) rich diet would confer protection from pathologies induced by LPS. Twenty C57BL/6 mice were divided into two groups. One group received FO-diet and other received SF-diet ad libitum for 60 days. Diets were isocaloric containing 45% energy from fat. After 60-days of feeding, blood was collected after overnight fast. Mice were allowed to recover for 4-days, fasted for 5-hours, challenged with 100 ng/mL of LPS intraperitonially, and bled after 2-hours. After 7-days of recuperation, mice were challenged with 500 ng/mL of LPS intraperitonially and observed for physical health. Food intake was similar in FO- and SF-fed mice. FO-fed mice compared to SF-fed mice had significantly less body weight gain (P = 0.005), epididymal fat weight (P = 0.005), fasting blood glucose (70.8 vs 83.3 ng/dL; P < 0.05), HOMA-IR (5.0 vs 13.6; P < 0.019), and serum cholesterol (167 vs 94 mg/dL; P < 0.05). When challenged with LPS, FO-fed mice had significantly lower serum IL-1beta compared to SF-fed mice (2.0 vs 30.0 pg/mL; P < 0.001). After LPS-challenge, SF-fed mice had higher mortality, lost more body weight, and had greater decrease in blood glucose compared to FO-fed mice. Overall, FO-diet compared to SF-diet offered protection against deleterious effects of LPS in mice.

Source: Vijay-Kumar, M., S. M. Vanegas, et al. (2011). "Fish oil rich diet in comparison to saturated fat rich diet offered protection against lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in mice." Nutr Metab (Lond) 8(1): 16.

The following recent publications are also of interest, but the abstracts are not reprinted here due to copyright restrictions:

Mercury and selenium levels in 19 species of saltwater fish from New Jersey as a function of species, size, and season.
Burger J, Gochfeld M. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Mar 15;409(8):1418-29. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Seafood intake and urine concentrations of total arsenic, dimethylarsinate and arsenobetaine in the US population.
Ana Navas-Acien, Kevin A. Francesconi, Ellen K. Silbergeld and Eliseo Guallar. Environmental Research Volume 111, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 110-118.

Maternal fish consumption, fetal growth and the risks of neonatal complications: the Generation R Study.
Heppe, D. H., et al. (2011). British Journal of Nutrition 105(6): 938-949.

Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in canned sardines commercially available in eastern Kentucky, USA.
Shiber JG. Mar Pollut Bull. 2011 Jan;62(1):66-72. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Mercury isotopes link mercury in San Francisco Bay forage fish to surface sediments.
Gretchen E. Gehrke, Joel D. Blum, Darell G. Slotton, and Ben K. Greenfield. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (4), pp 1264–1270

Modelling temporal and spatial changes of PCBs in fish tissue from Lake Huron.
El-Shaarawi AH, Backus S, Zhu R, Chen Y. Environ Monit Assess. 2011 Feb;173(1-4):611-23. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

Meetings and Conferences

12th Workshop on Brominated and other Flame Retardants (BFR 2011)
June 6-7, 2011 Boston, Massachusetts
http://www.bfr2011.org Exit EPA Disclaimer
10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
July 24–29, 2011 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
http://www.mercury2011.org Exit EPA Disclaimer
American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting
September 4-8, 2011 Seattle, Washington
http://www.fisheries.org/afs2011 Exit EPA Disclaimer
14th World Lake Conference
October 31-November 4, 2011 Austin, Texas
http://www.wlc14.org/Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America 32nd Annual Meeting
November 13-17 2011, Boston, Massachusetts
http://boston.setac.org/Exit EPA Disclaimer

For More Information

Please email the newsletter (Fish_Advisory@epa.gov) if you would like to announce an upcoming meeting, conference, or to submit an article.

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