Retinoid and lipid patterns in the blubber of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis): implications for monitoring vitamin A status

We determined retinoid concentrations in various body positions of the blubber of 25 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) to study topographical variation in concentrations. Specimens were obtained from incidental catches and were apparently healthy. We found concentrations to be high and therefore conclude that blubber represents a significant contribution to total retinoid body load. Consequently, blubber is proposed as a tissue of choice for monitoring retinoid status in this species. Anterior-ventral blubber had the highest vitamin A concentration and posterior-dorsal the lowest. Therefore, when assessing retinoid status, topographical variation should be taken into account to ensure consistent sampling. This pattern appeared to be explained by a parallel variation in lipid content. Thus, the dynamics and body distribution of retinoids appear to be basically governed by the lipophilicity of the molecules. The highest lipid richness found in the anterior-ventral region might indicate that this region is comparatively more important for insulation and lipid storage than the dorsal posterior region. Retinoid levels did not appear to vary according to sex, but they did vary with lipid content. This should be taken into account when designing sampling protocols; for monitoring purposes, biopsies from healthy, free-ranging individuals should be preferred to samples from stranded animals.


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Authors: Tornero, Victoria, Borrell, Asunción, Forcada, Jaume ORCIDORCID record for Jaume Forcada, Pubill, Eva, Aguilar, Alex

On this site: Jaume Forcada
1 January, 2004
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B / 137
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