Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pharmacology and Toxicology

Degree Program

Pharmacology and Toxicology, MS

Committee Chair

Wise Sr., John

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

States, J. Christopher

Committee Member

States, J. Christopher

Committee Member

Beverly, Levi

Committee Member

Beier-Arteel, Juliane

Committee Member

Zhang, Qunwei

Author's Keywords

hexavalent chromium; cytotoxicity; genotoxicity; sea turtles; Dermochelys coriacea


Monitoring the health effects of environmental contaminants can be achieved using sentinel species as models. Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are an endangered marine species that may experience prolonged exposures to environmental contaminants including hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)]. While Cr(VI) has been identified as a known human carcinogen, the health effects in marine species are poorly understood. In this study the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of particulate and soluble Cr(VI) were assessed in leatherback lung cells and compared to those in human lung cells. Cr(VI) induced a concentration-dependent increase in cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in leatherback lung cells indicating Cr(VI) may be a health concern for leatherbacks and other long-lived marine species. Additionally, these results were comparable to those in humans. Based on these results leatherbacks are an ideal model species for monitoring the health effects of Cr(VI) and therefore serve as an indicator species for environmental human exposures.