Establishment of the first humpback whale fibroblast cell lines and their application in chemical risk assessment

Burkard, Michael, Whitworth, Deanne, Schirmer, Kristin and Nash, Susan B. (2015) Establishment of the first humpback whale fibroblast cell lines and their application in chemical risk assessment. Aquatic Toxicology, 167 240-247. doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.08.005

Author Burkard, Michael
Whitworth, Deanne
Schirmer, Kristin
Nash, Susan B.
Title Establishment of the first humpback whale fibroblast cell lines and their application in chemical risk assessment
Journal name Aquatic Toxicology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-1514
Publication date 2015-10-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.08.005
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 167
Start page 240
End page 247
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This paper reports the first successful derivation and characterization of humpback whale fibroblast cell lines. Primary fibroblasts were isolated from the dermal connective tissue of skin biopsies, cultured at 37 °C and 5% CO2 in the standard mammalian medium DMEM/F12 supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Of nine initial biopsies, two cell lines were established from two different animals and designated HuWa1 and HuWa2. The cells have a stable karyotype with 2n = 44, which has commonly been observed in other baleen whale species. Cells were verified as being fibroblasts based on their spindle-shaped morphology, adherence to plastic and positive immunoreaction to vimentin. Population doubling time was determined to be ∼41 h and cells were successfully cryopreserved and thawed. To date, HuWa1 cells have been propagated 30 times. Cells proliferate at the tested temperatures, 30, 33.5 and 37 °C, but show the highest rate of proliferation at 37 °C. Short-term exposure to para,para′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p′-DDE), a priority compound accumulating in southern hemisphere humpback whales, resulted in a concentration-dependent loss of cell viability. The effective concentration which caused a 50% reduction in HuWa1 cell viability (EC50 value) was approximately six times greater than the EC50 value for the same chemical measured with human dermal fibroblasts. HuWa1 exposed to a natural, p,p′-DDE-containing, chemical mixture extracted from whale blubber showed distinctively higher sensitivity than to p,p′-DDE alone. Thus, we provide the first cytotoxicological data for humpback whales and with establishment of the HuWa cell lines, a unique in vitro model for the study of the whales’ sensitivity and cellular response to chemicals and other environmental stressors.
Keyword Megaptera novaeangliae
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Cell line characterization
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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