Tissue PAH, blood cell and tissue changes following exposure to water accommodated fractions of crude oil in alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula
Alligator gar Atractosteus spatula acclimated to brackish water (9 ppt) were exposed to water accommodated fraction oil loadings (surrogate to Macondo Deepwater Horizon, northern Gulf of Mexico) of 0.5 and 4.0 gm oil/L tank water for 48 h. The surrogate oil was approximately 98% alkanes and alkynes and 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons. The 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons were predominately naphthalene. After 48 h, naphthalene levels in fish liver exposed to 0.5 or 4 gm oil/L were 547.79 and 910.68 ppb, while muscle levels were 214.11 and 253.84 ppb. There was a significant decrease in peripheral blood lymphocyte numbers and a significant reduction of granulocytes in the kidney marrow of the same fish. Tissue changes included hepatocellular vacuolization and necrosis, necrotizing pancreatitis, renal eosinophilia, and splenic congestion. After 7 days recovery, liver naphthalene levels decreased to 43.59 and 43.20 ppb, while muscle levels decreased to 9.74, and 16.78 ppb for oil exposures of 0, 0.5 or 4 g/L. In peripheral blood and kidney marrow, blood cell counts returned to normal. The severity of liver and kidney lesions lessened after 7 days recovery in non-oiled water, but splenic congestion remained in all gar.