Citation Hampel M, Bron J, Taggart J & Leaver M (2014) The antidepressant drug Carbamazepine induces differential transcriptome expression in the brain of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Aquatic Toxicology, 151, pp. 114-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.12.018
Abstract Concerns are being expressed recently over possible environmental effects of human pharmaceuticals. Although the likelihood of acute toxicity is low, the continuous discharge of pharmaceuticals into the aquatic environment means that sublethal effects on non-target organisms need to be seriously considered. One-year-old Atlantic salmon parr were exposed to 7.85 ± 0.13 μg L-1 of the antidepressant drug Carbamazepine (CBZ) for five days to investigate changes of mRNA expression in the brain by means of a custom 17k Atlantic salmon cDNA microarray. The selected concentration is similar to upper levels that can be found in hospital and sewage treatment plant effluents. After treatment, 373 features were differently expressed with 26 showing up- or down-regulation of ≥2-fold (p ≤ 0.05). Among the mRNAs showing the highest change were the pituitary hormones encoding features somatolactin, prolactin and somatotropin, or growth hormone. Functional enrichment and network analyses of up- and down-regulated genes showed that CBZ induced a highly different gene expression profile in comparison to untreated organisms. CBZ induced expression of essential genes of the focal adhesion and extracellular matrix - receptor interaction pathways most likely through integrin alpha-6 (itga6) activation. Negative regulation of apoptotic process, extracellular matrix organization and heme biosynthesis were the most enriched biological process related GO-terms, with the simultaneous enrichment of collagen and extracellular region related cellular component GO-terms, and extracellular matrix structural constituent, hormone activity and chromatin binding molecular function related GO-terms. These results show that relatively low doses of CBZ may affect brain physiology in exposed salmon parr, targeting similar processes as in human, indicating a high degree of conservation of targets of CBZ action. However, and since the mRNAs showing most changes in expression are critical for adaptation to different stressors and life history transitions in Atlantic salmon, more research should be undertaken to assess CBZ effects to avoid impairment of normal development and maintenance of natural populations.