Developing tools for risk assessment in protected species: Relative potencies inferred from competitive binding of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons to aryl hydrocarbon receptors from beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and mouse.
Persistent organic pollutants such as halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (HAHs) biomagnify in food webs and accumulate to high concentrations in top predators like odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales). The most toxic HAHs are the 2,3,7,8-substituted halogenated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans, and non-ortho-substituted polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which exert their effects via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Understanding the impact of HAHs in wildlife is limited by the lack of taxon-specific information about the relative potencies of toxicologically important congeners. To assess whether Toxic Equivalency Factors (TEFs) determined in rodents are predictive of HAH relative potencies in a cetacean, we used beluga and mouse AHRs expressed in vitro from cloned cDNAs to measure the relative AHR-binding affinities of ten HAHs from five different structural classes. The rank order of mean IC(50)s for competitive binding to beluga AHR was: TCDD