The mediating role of the placenta in antidepressant exposure in the live-bearing fish family Poeciliidae

  • Laura Staal (Speaker)
  • F. J. Haan (Contributor)
  • Y. Wang (Contributor)
  • S.W.S. Gusselkloo (Contributor)
  • Plosch, T. (Contributor)
  • Wertheim, B. (Contributor)
  • Bart J.A. Pollux (Contributor)
  • Olivier, J. D. A. (Contributor)

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are found in surface waters and have been shown to affect ecologically relevant behaviors in fishes. It is not known whether these are the effects of changes in the expression of genes related to the serotonergic system. It is furthermore unknown to what extent antidepressant exposure influences reproduction and offspring development.To address this, we studied the effects of six-week SSRI exposure during pregnancy in concentrations varying between 0.1 and 40 μg/L in two live-bearing fish species (family Poeciliidae), one with (P. turneri) and one without placenta (P. gracilis). First, we quantified serotonin-1a receptor expression in the maternal brain. Second, we measured whole-body tissue concentrations of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine in pregnant females and their embryos to better understand the mediating role of the placenta in SSRI transmittance. Finally, we assessed developmental features of both embryos and offspring at birth. SSRI treatment negatively influenced fecundity, particularly at high concentrations. Gene expression and embryo development studies are still ongoing. Our preliminary data suggests that, like in mammals, the fish placenta does not protect the embryo against the SSRI exposure. Our study suggests that increased antidepressant use in humans is therefore likely to negatively impact the environment
Event titleNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2020
Event typeConference
Conference number13
Organiser Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocationLunteren, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational