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Noninvasive Respiratory Metabolite Analysis Associated with Clinical Disease in Cetaceans: A Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Study

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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States
Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, 4150 V Street, Suite 3400, Sacramento, California 95817, United States
§ Center for Comparative Respiratory Biology and Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616, United States
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, United States
National Marine Mammal Foundation, 2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 200, San Diego, California 92106, United States
# National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 331 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412, United States
Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, c/o Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida 34236, United States
*Phone: +1 (530) 754-9004, e-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, 51, 10, 5737–5746
Publication Date (Web):April 13, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

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    Health assessments of wild cetaceans can be challenging due to the difficulty of gaining access to conventional diagnostic matrices of blood, serum and others. While the noninvasive detection of metabolites in exhaled breath could potentially help to address this problem, there exists a knowledge gap regarding associations between known disease states and breath metabolite profiles in cetaceans. This technology was applied to the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history (The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico). An accurate analysis was performed to test for associations between the exhaled breath metabolome and sonographic lung abnormalities as well as hematological, serum biochemical, and endocrine hormone parameters. Importantly, metabolites consistent with chronic inflammation, such as products of lung epithelial cellular breakdown and arachidonic acid cascade metabolites were associated with sonographic evidence of lung consolidation. Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) metabolite profiles also correlated with serum hormone concentrations (cortisol and aldosterone), hepatobiliary enzyme levels, white blood cell counts, and iron homeostasis. The correlations among breath metabolites and conventional health measures suggest potential application of breath sampling for remotely assessing health of wild cetaceans. This methodology may hold promise for large cetaceans in the wild for which routine collection of blood and respiratory anomalies are not currently feasible.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06482.

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