CYP1A protein expression and catalytic activity in double-crested cormorants experimentally exposed to deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon 252 oil

Courtney R. Alexander, Michael J. Hooper, Dave Cacela, Kim D. Smelker, Caleshia S. Calvin, Karen M. Dean, Steve J. Bursian, Fred L. Cunningham, Katie C. Hanson-Dorr, Katherine E. Horak, John P. Isanhart, Jane Link, Susan A. Shriner, Céline A.J. Godard-Codding

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13 Scopus citations


Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus, DCCO) were orally exposed to Deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon 252 (DWH) oil to investigate oil-induced toxicological impacts. Livers were collected for multiple analyses including cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) enzymatic activity and protein expression. CYP1A enzymatic activity was measured by alkoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (AROD) assays. Activities specific to the O-dealkylation of four resorufin ethers are reported: benzyloxyresorufin O-debenzylase (BROD), ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), methoxyresorufin O-demethylase (MROD), and pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase (PROD). CYP1A protein expression was measured by western blot analysis with a CYP1A1 mouse monoclonal antibody. In study 1, hepatic BROD, EROD, and PROD activities were significantly induced in DCCO orally exposed to 20 ml/kg body weight (bw) oil as a single dose or daily for 5 days. Western blot analysis revealed hepatic CYP1A protein induction in both treatment groups. In study 2 (5 ml/kg bw oil or 10 ml/kg bw oil, 21 day exposure), all four hepatic ARODs were significantly induced. Western blots showed an increase in hepatic CYP1A expression in both treatment groups with a significant induction in birds exposed to 10 ml/kg oil. Significant correlations were detected among all 4 AROD activities in both studies and between CYP1A protein expression and both MROD and PROD activities in study 2. EROD activity was highest for both treatment groups in both studies while BROD activity had the greatest fold-induction. While PROD activity values were consistently low, the fold-induction was high, usually 2nd highest to BROD activity. The observed induced AROD profiles detected in the present studies suggest both CYP1A4/1A5 DCCO isoforms are being induced after MC252 oil ingestion. A review of the literature on avian CYP1A AROD activity levels and protein expression after exposure to CYP1A inducers highlights the need for species-specific studies to accurately evaluate avian exposure to oil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Cytochrome P4501A
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Double-crested cormorant
  • Oil spill


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