Physiological responses of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) after exposure to diclofenac and metoprolol
Surface waters worldwide are contaminated with low levels (ng/L up to few µg/L) of human pharmaceuticals. Diclofenac (DCF; non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory) and metoprolol (MTP; ß-blocker) are highly consumed and therefore commonly detected. Their biological activity is not restricted to humans. Well conserved enzymes within the vertebrates suggest effects on non-target organisms such as fish, poorly studied in long-term exposure experiments using environmentally relevant concentrations. In the
... centrations. In the presented work, physiological effects of DCF and MTP on the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), an important aquaculture fish species, were studied. Using primary hepatocytes, it was shown in vitro that environmentally relevant concentrations of DCF increased the gene expression of different key enzymes of the detoxification, while MTP exposure had a less clear effect. Both substances induced vitellogenin gene expression, but only after DCF exposure this was significantly elevated already at the environmentally relevant concentration. In vivo, two long-term exposure studies on the physiological effects from the fertilized egg until 80 days post-hatch were evaluated. Both substances did not affect hatching success and survival, while growth was slightly reduced after 80 days post-hatch. Histopathological alterations of the gills, changed gene expression patterns of the gonadotropins and induced vitellogenin gene expression were the most dominant findings. The results indicate a stronger estrogenic mode of action of DCF compared to MTP. Overall, the risk due to a single substance exposure seems to be relatively low but adverse effects on reproduction and additive effects during simultaneous exposure to DCF and MTP cannot be excluded and should be investigated further.