Effects of antidepressants with different modes of action on early life stages of fish and amphibians



• Lethal effects were not observed at environmentally relevant concentrations.
• Behaviour was effected only at higher tested concentrations.
• mRNA expression was impacted at environmentally relevant concentrations.



Drugs are excreted from the human body as both original substances and as metabolites and enter aquatic environment through waste water. The aim of this study was to widen the current knowledge considering the effects of waterborne antidepressants with different modes of action—amitriptyline, venlafaxine, sertraline—on embryos of non-target aquatic biota—fish (represented by Danio rerio) and amphibians (represented by Xenopus tropicalis). The tested concentrations were 0.3; 3; 30; 300 and 3000 μg/L in case of amitriptyline and venlafaxine and 0.1; 1; 10; 100 and 1000 μg/L for sertraline. Test on zebrafish embryos was carried out until 144 h post fertilization, while test on Xenopus embryos was terminated after 48 h. Lethal and sublethal effects as well as swimming alterations were observed at higher tested concentrations that are not present in the environment. In contrast, mRNA expression of genes related to heart, eye, brain and bone development (nkx2.5, otx 2, bmp4 and pax 6) seems to be impacted also at environmentally relevant concentrations. In a wider context, this study reveals several indications on the ability of antidepressants to affect non target animals occupying environments which may be contaminated by such compounds.


Link to the publication : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749119304257