Acta Vet. Brno 2020, 89: 151-162

Polychlorinated biphenyl toxicity in the thyroid gland of wild ungulates: an in vitro model

Ehdaa Eltayeb Eltigani Abdelsalam, Hana Banďouchová, Tomáš Heger, Miroslava Kaňová, Kateřina Kobelková, Monika Němcová, Vladimír Piaček, Jana Sedláčková, Veronika Seidlová, František Vitula, Jiří Pikula

University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Ecology and Diseases of Zoo Animals, Game, Fish, and Bees, Brno, Czech Republic

Received March 26, 2020
Accepted May 26, 2020

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are carcinogens causing endocrine disruption. While production of PCBs is now banned, wildlife exposure still occurs due to environmental contamination. We investigated thyroid toxicity in wild ungulates using three-dimensional primary thyrocyte cultures exposed to PCB 138 for 24, 48, and 72 h at concentrations ranging within 0–3000 ng/ml. Thyrocyte viability ranged within 78.71–118.34%, 98.14–104.45%, and 84.16–106.70% in fallow deer-, mouflon-, and roe deer-derived cells, respectively. Viability decreased significantly in fallow deer (P = 0.012) and roe deer (P = 0.002) thyrocytes exposed for 48 h at 30 ng/ml. While cytotoxicity ranged within 2.36–16.37%, 3.19–9.85%, and 2.76–11.21% in fallow deer, mouflon, and roe deer, respectively, only roe deer displayed significantly higher cytotoxicity at a 3 ng/ml exposure (P < 0.05) and lower cytotoxicity at 30 ng/ml (P < 0.01). Exposure to 30 ng/ml for 24 and 48 h induced reactive oxygen species in fallow deer. Iodide uptake at 30 ng/ml exposure increased after 24 h in fallow and roe deer, but showed a significant drop after 48 and 72 h in fallow deer, mouflon, and roe deer. Thyroxine T4 release at 30 ng/ml exposure decreased significantly after 48 and 72 h; 24, 48 and 72 h; and 48 h in fallow deer, mouflon, and roe deer, respectively. Our findings indicate time- and species-dependent effects of PCB on performance and thyrocyte function. Use of cell culture models reduces the number of experimental specimens, increases test species welfare and replaces whole organisms with specific target cells.


This study was supported through Grant No. FVHE/Pikula/ITA2020 of the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno. We are grateful to Dr. Kevin Roche for correction and improvement of the English text.


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