John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Distribution of mercury and selenium in blood compartments of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida

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Total mercury and selenium concentrations ([THg], [Se]) in serum, plasma, whole blood, and packed cells were examined in a resident population of free ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida. We determine how these elements partition in blood and assess compartment‐specific associations. Determining the distribution of Se and THg can provide physiologic insight into potential association of mercury with selenol‐containing biomolecules (e.g. antioxidants) in blood compartments. For [THg], serum < plasma < whole blood < packed cells; while for [Se], plasma < serum < whole blood < packed cells. The Se:THg molar ratio was greater than 1 in all compartments, with the higher ratios found in serum and plasma (plasma < serum) and the lower in whole blood and packed cells (packed cells < whole blood). Age was positively correlated with [THg] in all blood compartments and with [Se] in serum, plasma and whole blood. Age was negatively correlated with Se:THg molar ratios in all blood compartments, driven by low [THg] in young animals. While [THg] was highly correlated among all blood compartments, this was not the case for [Se]. The feasibility of calculating packed cell [THg], [Se], and Se:THg molar ratios using hematocrit measurements in combination with whole blood and plasma [THg] and [Se] was validated, allowing routine assessment of compartmentalization within erythrocytes using standard clinical measurements. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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