Antidepressants in a changing ocean: Venlafaxine uptake and elimination in juvenile fish (Argyrosomus regius) exposed to warming and acidification conditions

Ana Luísa Maulvault, Lúcia H.M.L.M. Santos, Carolina Camacho, Patrícia Anacleto, Vera Barbosa, Ricardo Alves, Pedro Pousão Ferreira, Albert Serra-Compte, Damià Barceló, Sara Rodriguez-Mozaz, Rui Rosa, Mário Diniz, António Marques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The presence of antidepressants, such as venlafaxine (VFX), in marine ecosystems is increasing, thus, potentially posing ecological and human health risks. The inherent mechanisms of VFX uptake and elimination still require further understanding, particularly accounting for the impact of climate change-related stressors, such as warming and acidification. Hence, the present work aimed to investigate, for the first time, the effects of increased seawater temperature (ΔT°C = +5 °C) and pCO2 levels (ΔpCO2 ∼1000 μatm, equivalent to ΔpH = −0.4 units) on the uptake and elimination of VFX in biological tissues (muscle, liver, brain) and plasma of juvenile meagre (Argyrosomus regius) exposed to VFX through two different exposure pathways (via water, i.e. [VFX] ∼20 μg L−1, and via feed, i.e. [VFX] ∼160 μg kg−1 dry weight, dw). Overall, results showed that VFX can be uptaken by fish through both water and diet. Fish liver exhibited the highest VFX concentration (126.7 ± 86.5 μg kg−1 and 6786.4 ± 1176.7 μg kg−1 via feed and water exposures, respectively), as well as the highest tissue:plasma concentration ratio, followed in this order by brain and muscle, regardless of exposure route. Both warming and acidification decreased VFX uptake in liver, although VFX uptake in brain was favoured under warming conditions. Conversely, VFX elimination in liver was impaired by both stressors, particularly when acting simultaneously. The distinct patterns of VFX uptake and elimination observed in the different scenarios calls for a better understanding of the effects of exposure route and abiotic conditions on emerging contaminants’ toxicokinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Antidepressant
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Climate change
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Fish
  • Venlafaxine


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