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Kuujjuaq, Canada

Krey A.,University of Northern British Columbia | Kwan M.,Nunavik Research Center | Chan H.M.,University of Ottawa
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2015

Mercury (Hg) has been detected in polar bear brain tissue, but its biological effects are not well known. Relationships between Hg concentrations and neurochemical enzyme activities and receptor binding were assessed in the cerebellum, frontal lobes, and occipital lobes of 24 polar bears collected from Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Canada. The concentration-response relationship was further studied with in vitro experiments using pooled brain homogenate of 12 randomly chosen bears. In environmentally exposed brain samples, there was no correlative relationship between Hg concentration and cholinesterase (ChE) activity or muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) binding in any of the 3 brain regions. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in the occipital lobe showed a negative correlative relationship with total Hg concentration. In vitro experiments, however, demonstrated that Hg (mercuric chloride and methylmercury chloride) can inhibit ChE and MAO activities and muscarinic mAChR binding. These results show that Hg can alter neurobiochemical parameters but the current environmental Hg exposure level does have an effect on the neurochemistry of polar bears from northern Canada. © 2014 SETAC. Source


Krey A.,University of Northern British Columbia | Kwan M.,Nunavik Research Center | Chan H.M.,University of Northern British Columbia | Chan H.M.,University of Ottawa
Environmental Research | Year: 2012

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxicant that has been found at elevated concentrations in the Arctic ecosystem. Little is known about its internal dose in wildlife such as polar bears. We measured concentrations of mercury (Hg) in three different brain regions (cerebellum, frontal lobe and brain stem) of 24 polar bears collected from the Nunavik, Canada between 2000 and 2003. Speciation of Hg was measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (HPLC-ICP-MS). Concentrations of mean total Hg in brain tissue were up to 625 times lower (0.28±0.07mgkg -1 dry weight (dw) in frontal lobe, 0.23±0.07mgkg -1 dw in cerebellum and 0.12±0.03mgkg -1 dw in brain stem) than the mean total Hg concentration previously reported in polar bear liver collected from Eastern Baffin Island. Methylmercury (MeHg) accounted for 100% of the Hg found in all three brain regions analyzed. These results suggest that polar bear might reduce the toxic effects of Hg by limiting the uptake into the brain and/or decrease the rate of demethylation so that Hg can be excreted from the brain more easily. The toxicokinetics and the blood-brain-barrier mechanisms of polar bears are still unknown and further research is required. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source


Dixon B.R.,Bureau of Microbial Hazards | Ndao M.,National Reference Center for Parasitology | Ndao M.,McGill University | Tetro J.A.,University of Ottawa | And 72 more authors.
Food Protection Trends | Year: 2014

Parasitic diseases are of considerable public health significance in Canada, particularly in rural and remote areas. Food- and water-borne parasites contribute significantly to the overall number of parasitic infections reported in Canada. While data on the incidence of some of these diseases are available, knowledge of the true burden of infection by the causative agents in Canadians is somewhat limited. A number of centers of expertise in Canada study various aspects of parasitology, but few formal societies or networks of parasitologists currently exist in Canada, and previously none focused specifically on food or environmental transmission. The recently established Food and Environmental Parasitology Network (FEPN) brings together Canadian researchers, regulators and public health officials with an active involvement in issues related to these increasingly important fields. The major objectives of the Network include identifying research gaps, facilitating discussion and collaborative research, developing standardized methods, generating data for risk assessments, policies, and guidelines, and providing expert advice and testing in support of outbreak investigations and surveillance studies. Issues considered by the FEPN include contaminated foods and infected food animals, potable and non-potable water, Northern and Aboriginal issues, zoonotic transmission, and epidemiology. Source


Murdoch A.,University of Waterloo | Klein G.,Nunavik Research Center | Doidge D.W.,Nunavik Research Center | Power M.,University of Waterloo
Fisheries Management and Ecology | Year: 2013

Anadromous Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus (L.), was introduced to a sub-Arctic river-lake system near the village of Kujjuuaq, Nunavik, and the stable isotope values and diets of key resident fish species were used to assess changes in feeding patterns. Stable isotope values for most species did not differ significantly between the pre- and post-introduction periods, with observed shifts being within the bounds of expected natural variation. Lake chub, Couesius plumbeus (Agassiz), were the single species to show a difference between study periods, with a small but significant increase in δ15N. No significant post-introduction changes were seen in lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum), omnivory or in any of the assessed quantitative food web metrics. Gut contents of major fish species similarly showed significant temporal overlap between the pre- and post-introduction periods, and there was no significant change in species' weight-length relationships. The minor ecological impact was interpreted in relation to the availability of open niches exploitable by ecological generalists such as Arctic charr. The explanation accords with the known habitat and feeding flexibility of Arctic charr and the ecological immaturity of sub-Arctic lakes known to have driven adaptive variation among Arctic charr. Findings suggest that anadromous Arctic charr may be introduced at moderate densities to other sub-Arctic watersheds without major negative food web consequences for other resident fish species. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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