J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 1235 - 1138

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 1235
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030524

Possible lin between elevated accumulation of trace elements and canine distemper virus infection in the Caspian seals (Phoca caspica ) stranded in 2000 and 2001

T. Shinsuke, K. Takashi, A. Yasumi, I. Tokutaka and K. Reiji

Center for Marine Environmentai Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama 790-8566, Japan

In the Caspian Sea, a die-off of thousands of Caspian seals (Phoca caspica) occurred in 1997 and 2000. While a direct cause for these deaths seems to be canine distemper virus (CDV) infection, immunosuppression due to environmental pollutants is considered as one of the possible explanations for the development of the disease. The purpose of this work is to examine whether exposure to trace metals could be one of the factors involved in the mass mortality of Caspian seals. Concentrations of 13 trace elements weredetermined in liver, kidney and muscle of Caspian seals found stranded along the coasts of the Caspian Sea in 2000 and 2001. Concentrations of toxic elemen ts (Ag, Cd, Hg, Tl and Pb) in the Caspian seals collected in 2000 and 2001 were comparable to or lower than those in healthy Caspian seals collected in 1993 and 1998 and in seals from other regions, suggesting that these elements would not be the causative agent for the death of Caspian seals. In contrast, Zn and Fe concentrations in the stranded Caspian seals were apparently higher than those in seals from other locations. These results suggest the disturbance in homeostatic control and nutritional statu s of essential elements in the stranded Caspian seals.

© EDP Sciences 2003