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Divergent Response to the SSRI Citalopram in Male and Female Three-Spine Sticklebacks ( Gasterosteus aculeatus )

Authors
  • Kellner, Martin1
  • Olsén, K. Håkan1
  • 1 Södertörn University,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Nov 05, 2020
Volume
79
Issue
4
Pages
478–487
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00244-020-00776-1
PMID: 33151376
PMCID: PMC7688600
Source
PubMed Central
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are psychotropic pharmaceuticals used as antidepressants. SSRIs are commonly found in surface waters in populated areas across the globe. They exert their effect by blocking the serotonin re-uptake transporter in the presynaptic nerve ending. The present study examined whether behavioural effects to exposure to SSRI citalopram depend on personality and sex in the stickleback ( Gasterosteus aculeatus ). Three aspects of stickleback behaviour are examined: feeding behaviour, aggression, and boldness. We exposed sticklebacks to 350–380 ng/l citalopram for 3 weeks. Feeding and aggressive behaviour were recorded before and after exposure, whereas scototaxis behaviour was tested after exposure. The results show treatment effects in feeding and aggressive behaviour. Feeding is suppressed only in the male group ( χ 2 = 20.4, P < 0.001) but not in the females ( χ 2 = 0.91, P = 0.339). Aggressive behaviour was significantly affected by treatment ( χ 2 = 161.9, P < 0.001), sex ( χ 2 = 86.3, P < 0.001), and baseline value ( χ 2 = 58.8, P < 0.001). Aggressiveness was suppressed by citalopram treatment. In addition, the fish showed no change in aggression and feeding behaviour over time regardless of sex and treatment, which indicate personality traits. Only females are affected by treatment in the scototaxis test. The exposed females spent significantly ( χ 2 = 5.02, P = 0.050) less time in the white zone than the female controls.

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