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University of Washington

Superfund Research Program

Wildlife Biomarker Applications to Remediation Decision Making

Project Leader: Michael J. Hooper (Texas Tech University)
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The principal objective of this project is to focus on the characterization and application of biomarker technologies in wildlife populations inhabiting hazardous waste sites. The rationale for the project is that wildlife species often show enhanced sensitivity to waste site contaminants and, therefore, may provide more sensitive endpoints than corresponding or related laboratory species. While several species are being evaluated, the focus is on the European starling and the deer mouse. The biomarkers developed in the project are being applied to three National Priority List (NPL) sites, The Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Sangamo Westin Associated PCB dump sites, and a waste metal, oil, and PCB site. The biomarkers employed include reproductive success, cytochrome P450 activities, cellular and humoral immune function, porphyrin profiles, and H4IIE/dioxin equivalency assays. New tests such as in vivo and in vitro estrogenicity and anti-estrogenicity techniques are being used on organopesticide and halogenated hydrocarbon contaminated sites. Chelator-induced excretory depuration of heavy metals are being combined with porphyrin profile analysis in evaluations of heavy metals exposure. cDNA probes for P450 subtypes are being used to determine transcription rates of inducible genes under normal conditions and following xenobiotic induction. Changes in muscarinic acetylcholine receptor site and subtype densities in response to sub-lethal organophosphorous exposures is also beng studied. The investigator also proposes to adapt immune function assays to make them more amenable to field use. The objective will then be to use the results of the panel of assays as well as contaminant analysis to make decisions about site remediation.

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