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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Antihistamines and aquatic insects: Bioconcentration and impacts on behavior in damselfly larvae (Zygoptera)

Jonsson, M.; Fick, J.; Klaminder, J.; Brodin, T.


Because aquatic insects use histamines as neurotransmitters, adverse impacts on aquatic insects living in aquatic environments that receive antihistamines with wastewater effluent are plausible. In this study, we exposed damselfly larvae to low concentrations of two commonly used antihistamines (Hydroxyzine and Fexofenadine, 360 +/- 42 and 2200 +/- 43 ng 1(-1), respectively), and recorded damselfly larvae behavior before and after exposure. Further, after the second set of behavioral assays was performed, we quantified bioconcentration of the antihistamines in the damselfly bodies. Our results showed significant changes in damselfly behavior following antihistamine exposure. After Hydroxyzine exposure, the damselfly larvae became less active, and they showed reduced fleeing response (i.e. increased boldness) after being exposed to Fexofenadine, the latter also being significantly different from the non-exposed (control) individuals. Further, we found high levels of bioconcentration in the damselflies; Hydroxyzine showed an average bioconcentration factor (BCF) of 2000. As such, our results indicate that low concentrations of antihistamines can have sub-lethal effects on aquatic insects manifested as behavioral changes, and that bioconcentration of these substances can be high. Therefore, the need to investigate the impact of emergent aquatic contaminants also on aquatic insects, and on behaviors that are of ecological importance, is further highlighted. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Antihistamines; Aquatic insects; Behavior; Bioconcentration; Damselfly; Pharmaceuticals

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2014, Volume: 472, pages: 108-111

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    Environmental Sciences

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