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Susceptibility of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) to a model carcinogen

Lerebours, Adélaïde; Murzina, Svetlana; Song, You; Tollefsen, Knut Erik; Benedetti, Maura; Regoli, Francesco; Rotchell, Jeanette M.; Nahrgang, Jasmine


Adélaïde Lerebours

Svetlana Murzina

You Song

Knut Erik Tollefsen

Maura Benedetti

Francesco Regoli

Jasmine Nahrgang


Studies that aim to characterise the susceptibility of the ecologically relevant and non-model fish polar cod (Boreogadus saida) to model carcinogens are required. Polar cod were exposed under laboratory conditions for six months to control, 0.03 μg BaP/g fish/week and 0.3 μg BaP/g fish/week dietary benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a reference carcinogen. The concentrations of the 3-OH-BaP bile metabolite and transcriptional responses of genes involved in DNA adduct recognition (xpc), helicase activity (xpd), DNA repair (xpf, rad51) and tumour suppression (tp53) were assessed after 0, 1, 3 and 6 months of exposure, alongside body condition indexes (gonadosomatic index, hepatosomatic index and condition factor). Micronuclei and nuclear abnormalities in blood and spleen, and liver histopathological endpoints were assessed at the end of the experiment. Fish grew steadily over the whole experiment and no mortality was recorded. The concentrations of 3-OH-BaP increased significantly after 1 month of exposure to the highest BaP concentration and after 6 months of exposure to all BaP concentrations showing the biotransformation of the mother compound. Nevertheless, no significant induction of gene transcripts involved in DNA damage repair or tumour suppression were observed at the selected sampling times. These results together with the absence of chromosomal damage in blood and spleen cells, the subtle increase in nuclear abnormalities observed in spleen cells and the low occurrence of foci of cellular alteration suggested that the exposure was below the threshold of observable effects. Taken together, the results showed that polar cod was not susceptible to carcinogenesis using the BaP exposure regime employed herein.


Lerebours, A., Murzina, S., Song, Y., Tollefsen, K. E., Benedetti, M., Regoli, F., …Nahrgang, J. (2021). Susceptibility of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) to a model carcinogen. Marine environmental research, 170, Article 105434.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 23, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 27, 2021
Publication Date Aug 1, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2022
Journal Marine Environmental Research
Print ISSN 0141-1136
Electronic ISSN 1879-0291
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 170
Article Number 105434
Keywords Carcinogenesis; Polar cod; Benzo(a)pyrene; Cancer genes; DNA repair; Genes
Public URL


Accepted article (872 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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