The retinoid metabolism of Gammarus fossarum is disrupted by exogenous all-trans retinoic acid, citral, and methoprene but not by the technical formulation of glyphosate

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2023 Mar 1:252:114602. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2023.114602. Epub 2023 Feb 10.


Over the last decade, fluctuations of retinoids (RETs), also known as vitamin A and derivatives, have proved to be useful biomarkers to assess the environmental chemical pressure on a wide variety of non-target vertebrates. This use of RET-based biomarkers is of particular interest in the non-target sentinel species Gammarus fossarum in which RETs were shown to influence crucial physiological functions. To study and probe this metabolism in this crustacean model, a UHPLC-MS/MS method was developed to 1) identify and 2) monitor several endogenous RETs in unexposed females throughout their reproductive cycle. Then, females were exposed in controlled conditions to exogenous all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) and citral (CIT), a RA synthesis inhibitor, to simulate an excess or deficiency in RA. Perturbation of vitamin A metabolism by pesticides was further studied in response to methoprene (MET), a juvenile hormone analog as well as glyphosate (GLY). The developed method allowed, for the first time in this model, the identification of RA metabolites (all-trans 4-oxo and 13-cis 4-oxo RA), RA isomers (all-trans and 13-cis RA) as well as retinaldehyde (RALD) isomers (all-trans, 11-cis, and 13-cis RALD) and showed two distinct phases in the reproductive cycle. Retinoic acid successfully increased the tissular concentration of both RA isomers and CIT proved to be efficient at perturbating the conversion from RALD to RA. Methoprene perturbed the ratios between RA isomers whereas GLY had no observed effects on the RET system of G. fossarum females. We were able to discriminate different dynamics of RET perturbations by morphogens (atRA or CIT) or MET which highlights the plausible mediation of RETs in MET-induced disorders. Ultimately, our study shows that RETs are influenced by exposure to MET and strengthen their potential to assess aquatic ecosystem chemical status.

Keywords: Amphipod; Insecticide; Juvenile hormone agonists; Retinoic acid isomerization; Vitamin A.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ecosystem
  • Female
  • Glyphosate
  • Isotretinoin
  • Methoprene*
  • Retinaldehyde / metabolism
  • Retinoids
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Tretinoin
  • Vitamin A*


  • citral
  • Methoprene
  • Vitamin A
  • Tretinoin
  • Retinoids
  • Isotretinoin
  • Retinaldehyde