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Oxidative stress biomarkers indicate sublethal health effects in a sentinel small mammal species, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), on reclaimed oil sands areas

Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime, García-de Blas, Esther, Smits, Judit E.G.
Ecological indicators 2016 v.62 pp. 66-75
Peromyscus maniculatus, antioxidants, bioactive properties, biomarkers, body condition, cobalt, conservation practices, environmental assessment, glutathione, health status, lipid peroxidation, liver, mice, oil sands, oxidative stress, physiological state, pollutants, risk assessment, risk assessors, selenium, small mammals, stakeholders, testes, vitamin A, vitamin status, wild animals, wildlife management, Alberta
Oxidative stress biomarkers can provide highly relevant insights into the physiological state of an organism. We compared endogenous oxidative stress biomarkers (lipid peroxidation and glutathione redox status) in the liver and testes as well as the hepatic antioxidant vitamins A and E in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) collected from a reclaimed mine site on the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (northern Alberta, Canada), with those from a non-industrial reference site within the same natural macroregion. Both glutathione redox and vitamin A status in the liver as well as glutathione redox status in the testes were disrupted in mice from the reclaimed site, indicating oxidative stress in these organs. Increased oxidative stress in the liver was associated with greater exposure to Co, Se, and Tl and contributed to poorer body condition and lowered testis size in animals from the reclaimed site (data from companion study). These results confirm health effects and biological costs in this native, sentinel small mammal from exposure to pollutants at the reclaimed mine site. This work provides compelling information and insight into the value of oxidative stress biomarkers as physiological tools that can indicate the health status and fitness of local wild animals. In particular, this approach can be used by risk assessors and other stakeholders from the oil sands region in future environmental risk assessments to improve wildlife management and conservation practices.