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National Water Quality Laboratory

Friday December 15, 2017

Aquatic Toxicology

Selective uptake and biological consequences of environmentally relevant antidepressant pharmaceutical exposures on male fathead minnows

Schultz, M.M., Painter, M.M., Bartell, S.E., Logue, A., Furlong, E.T., Werner, S.L., Schoenfuss, H.L.

Antidepressant pharmaceuticals have been reported in wastewater effluent at the nanogram to low microgram-per-liter range, and include bupropion (BUP), fluoxetine (FLX), sertraline (SER), and venlafaxine (VEN). To assess the effects of antidepressants on reproductive anatomy, physiology, and behavior, adult male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed for 21 days either to a single concentration of the antidepressants FLX, SER, VEN, or BUP, or to an antidepressant mixture. The data demonstrated that exposure to VEN (305 ng/L and 1104 ng/L) and SER (5.2 ng/L) resulted in mortality. Anatomical alterations were noted within the testes of fish exposed to SER and FLX, both modulators of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Additionally, FLX at 28 ng/L induced vitellogenin in male fish—a common endpoint for estrogenic endocrine disruption. Significant alterations in male secondary sex characteristics were noted with single exposures. Effects of single compound exposures neither carried over, nor became additive in the antidepressant mixtures, and reproductive behavior was not effected. Analysis of brain tissues from the exposed fish suggested increased uptake of FLX, SER and BUP and minimal uptake of VEN when compared to exposure water concentrations. Furthermore, the only metabolite detected consistently in the brain tissues was norfluoxetine. Similar trends of uptake by brain tissue were observed when fish were exposed to antidepressant mixtures. The present study demonstrates that anatomy and physiology, but not reproductive behavior, can be disrupted by exposure to environmental concentrations of some antidepressants. The observation that antidepressant uptake into fish tissues is selective may have consequences on assessing the mode-of-action and effects of these compounds in future studies.

 

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