Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 9823–9831 | Cite as

Effects of acetaminophen in oxidative stress and neurotoxicity biomarkers of the gastropod Phorcus lineatus

  • Filipa Almeida
  • Bruno NunesEmail author
Research Article


The growing use of pharmaceutical drugs has become a major environmental issue considering that these substances (or their metabolites) end up inevitably in sewage waters after excretion. In the wild, these chemicals may affect non-target organisms, and their potential toxicity is not sufficiently studied, a reality that is particularly true for marine organisms. Acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) is known to be toxic in high dosages, namely, by triggering oxidative effects. These effects may be potentiated in marine organisms subjected to contamination resulting from large human settlements along coastal areas. In order to assess how different exposure regimes (acute vs. chronic) may affect aquatic wildlife, individuals of the gastropod species Phorcus lineatus were acutely (96 h) and chronically (28 days) exposed to ecologically relevant concentrations of acetaminophen. The effects were evaluated through the quantification of selected biomarkers—catalase (CAT), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), and cholinesterase (ChE) activities. The results from acute exposure showed no significant effects in all three biomarkers, but chronically exposed organisms showed significant increases in the activities of CAT and ChEs. The data show that P. lineatus triggered a defensive biological response in the presence of acetaminophen, and also show that realistically low levels of acetaminophen can exert adaptive changes with unknown consequences.


Pharmaceutical drugs Paracetamol ROS Catalase GST Cholinesterases Aquatic wildlife 



Bruno Nunes was hired through the Investigator FCT program (IF/01744/2013).

Funding information

Financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017) was provided by FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de Aveiro, Campus de SantiagoAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM), Campus de SantiagoUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal

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