Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27435–27443 | Cite as

Analysis of beta-blocker bioconcentration in brown planaria (Girardia dorotocephala) and its effects on regeneration

  • Roya AminiTabrizi
  • Dalia Hassan
  • Rachel Davis
  • Kevin R. TuckerEmail author
Research Article


Production, distribution, and disposal of pharmaceutical products, including beta-blockers, have become a global issue. Beta-blockers are known to persist in the environment months after their release and may result in the disruption of the homeostatic system in non-target organisms. Here, we study the bioconcentration of three of the most commonly used beta-blockers and their effect on the regeneration of Girardia dorotocephala, a freshwater brown planarian. Acute toxicity tests determined LC50s for acebutolol, metoprolol, and propranolol to be 778 mg/L, 711 mg/L, and 111 mg/L, respectively. The quantification and analysis of beta-blocker bioconcentration during acute exposure were performed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). After 4 days of exposure to beta-blockers, the bioconcentration drastically decreased for all three beta-blockers at all exposure levels, suggesting that an effective mechanism to reduce uptake or excrete beta-blockers could be present. Additionally, Girardia dorotocephala were cut proximal to the head and the quality of regeneration was documented from each fragment daily. No significant difference was visually observed after 2 weeks of regeneration between the brown planarians placed in beta-blocker solution and those placed in control solution.


Beta-blockers LC-MS/MS Brown planarians Girardia dorotocephala Neoblast 


Funding information

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville supported this work through startup funds, Research Grants for Graduate Students, and through the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5960_MOESM1_ESM.docx (944 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 943 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bio5 InstituteThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and SciencesSouthern Illinois University EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleUSA

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