Molecular, behavioral, and growth responses of juvenile yellow catfish (Tachysurus fulvidraco) exposed to carbamazepine

Aquat Toxicol. 2024 Jun:271:106929. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2024.106929. Epub 2024 Apr 20.


Carbamazepine (CBZ) is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Due to its persistence and low removal rate in wastewater treatment plants, it is frequently detected in the environment, raising concerns regarding its potential adverse effects on aquatic organisms and ecosystems. In this study, we aimed to assess the impact of CBZ on the behavior and growth of juvenile yellow catfish Tachysurus fulvidraco, a native and economically important species in China. Fish were exposed to CBZ at three concentrations of 1, 10, or 100 µg/L for 14 days. The fish exposed to 10 and 100 μg/L of CBZ exhibited decreased feeding, and a significant increase in cannibalistic tendencies was observed in fish exposed to 100 μg/L CBZ. Acetylcholinesterase activity was increased in the brain of fish exposed to 100 μg/L CBZ. CBZ also inhibited the growth of yellow catfish. To better elucidate mechanisms of toxicity, transcriptomics was conducted in both the brain and liver. In the brain, gene networks associated with neurotransmitter dysfunction were altered by CBZ, as well as networks associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolism. In the liver, gene networks associated with the immune system were altered by CBZ. The current study improves comprehension of the sub-lethal effects of CBZ and reveals novel insight into molecular and biochemical pathways disrupted by CBZ, identifying putative key events associated with reduced growth and altered behavior. This study emphasizes the necessity for improved comprehension of the effects of pharmaceutical contaminants on fish at environmentally relevant levels.

Keywords: Cannibalism; Food consumption; Growth; Mechanisms; Pharmaceuticals; RNA-seq.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / toxicity
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Carbamazepine* / toxicity
  • Catfishes* / genetics
  • Catfishes* / physiology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / toxicity