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The Effects of Sertraline on Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Growth and Steroidogenesis


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the steroidogenic effects of sertraline, a popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on larval fathead minnow (FHM; Pimephales promelas) and adult FHM. Larvae were exposed to 0.1, 1, and 10 µg/L sertraline for 28 days and analyzed for differential mRNA expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD), 20β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20β-HSD), aromatase (CYP19a), nuclear thyroid receptor alpha (TRα), and normalized to RP-L8. Adult FHM were exposed to 3 or 10 µg/L sertraline for 7 days and analyzed for differential expression of the same genes with the addition of thyroid receptor beta (TRβ). Larval FHM exposed to 0.1 μg/L had a significant upregulation of both 20β-HSD and TRα while adult FHM exposed to 10 µg/L had a significant upregulation of 11β-HSD expression in brain tissue. The significance of these findings with respect to survival, growth and reproduction are currently unknown, but represent areas for future research.

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We would like to thank William Baylor Steele IV for his tremendous technical assistance and Hagar Mohamed for supplying adult FHM brain and ovary tissue.

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Correspondence to D. R. Carty.

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Carty, D.R., Hala, D. & Huggett, D.B. The Effects of Sertraline on Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Growth and Steroidogenesis. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 98, 753–757 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2079-5

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  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Fathead minnow
  • Endocrine disruption