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Oxidative stress, energy storage, and swimming performance of Limnodynastes peronii tadpoles exposed to a sub-lethal pharmaceutical mixture throughout development.
journal contributionposted on 2018-08-03, 00:00 authored by Steven MelvinSteven Melvin
Pharmaceutical contaminants represent emerging threats to aquatic animals and ecosystem health, and research exploring toxicological outcomes associated with these compounds in non-target wildlife has been flagged for prioritization. Amphibians represent particularly vulnerable organisms and many populations around the world are currently at risk of extinction. However, to date, relatively few studies have explored the consequences of exposures to common non-steroidal pharmaceuticals during sensitive amphibian life-stages. To address existing knowledge gaps, tadpoles of the Australian striped-marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii) were exposed to control water and a mixture of the common pharmaceutical contaminants diclofenac, naproxen, atenolol and gemfibrozil at 0.1, 1, 10, 100 and 1000 μg/L throughout the developmental period. Effects on detoxification pathways, energy storage, growth and development, and swimming performance were assessed following exposure. Developmental rates and liver-somatic index (LSI) were significantly reduced in the highest exposure concentration, and condition factor (K) was increased at concentrations as low as 10 μg/L. Morphological endpoints were associated with significantly altered levels of hepatic triglycerides, which in turn were correlated with increased peroxidase activity in animals exposed to the highest concentration (1000 μg/L). The mixture had no significant effect on swimming performance, but a trend of decreased swimming velocity (average and maximum) was observed with increasing concentration, and this was correlated with effects on LSI. Results demonstrate that mixtures of common non-steroidal pharmaceuticals can elicit a range of physiological, metabolic and morphological responses in larval amphibians, and more research is therefore warranted to explore possible relationships between endpoints at different levels of organization.