The toxicological effects following the ingestion of chinook salmon from the Great Lakes by Sprague-Dawley rats during a two-generation feeding-reproduction study

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1998 Feb;27(1 Pt 2):S18-27. doi: 10.1006/rtph.1997.1188.


A two-generation reproduction-feeding study was undertaken with Sprague-Dawley rats to ascertain the effects of ingesting chinook salmon fillets caught in the Credit River, which empties into Lake Ontario (LO), or in the Owen Sound region of Lake Huron (LH). Rats (30/sex/group) were randomly assigned to groups whose dietary protein consisted of casein and/or lyophilized salmon [Group 1: 20% casein (controls); Group 2: 15% casein + 5% LO salmon (LO-5%); Group 3: 20% LO salmon (LO-20%); Group 4: 15% casein + 5% LH salmon (LH-5%); Group 5: 20% LH salmon (LH-20%)]. After 70 days on test, the males and females were mated on a 1:1 basis within diet groups. Approximately 70 days postweaning, one F1 male and one F1 female from 24 litters were mated within diet groups, avoiding sibling matings. At weaning, the F0 and F1 adults and the F1 and F2 neonates not randomly selected for further testing were necropsied. Evaluated parameters included growth, feed consumption, organ weights, reproduction indices, serum chemistry, hematology, and coagulation times. The only statistically significant effects which were present in both generations were increased relative liver and kidney weights of both sexes in the LO-20% and LH-20% groups; the LH-20% females had lower alanine transaminase activity than the controls; the controls had lower creatinine levels than the fish groups and the LO-20% females; the LH-20% and LO-20% males had a lower blood urea nitrogen than the controls; and the LH-20% females had a heavier terminal body weight than the controls and a lower number of red blood cells, hematocrit, hemoglobin values, and mean platelet volume. There was a tendency for the fish-fed groups to grow faster, eat more feed, and have larger litters with heavier pups. Overall, there was little to suggest that the myriad of contaminants in chinook salmon from the Great Lakes presented an appreciable toxicological risk to Sprague-Dawley growth and reproduction.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Breeding
  • Embryo Implantation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Food Contamination*
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Salmon*