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Effects of the antihistamine diphenhydramine on selected aquatic organisms

Authors

  • Jason P. Berninger,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
    • Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA.
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  • Bowen Du,

    1. Institute of Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Kristin A. Connors,

    1. Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Stephanie A. Eytcheson,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Mark A. Kolkmeier,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Krista N. Prosser,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Theodore W. Valenti Jr.,

    1. Institute of Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • C. Kevin Chambliss,

    1. Institute of Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
    2. Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
    3. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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  • Bryan W. Brooks

    1. Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
    2. Institute of Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
    3. Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
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Abstract

In recent years pharmaceuticals have been detected in aquatic systems receiving discharges of municipal and industrial effluents. Although diphenhydramine (DPH) has been reported in water, sediment, and fish tissue, an understanding of its impacts on aquatic organisms is lacking. Diphenhydramine has multiple modes of action (MOA) targeting the histamine H1, acetylcholine (ACh), and 5-HT reuptake transporter receptors, and as such is used in hundreds of pharmaceutical formulations. The primary objective of this study was to develop a baseline aquatic toxicological understanding of DPH using standard acute and subchronic methodologies with common aquatic plant, invertebrate, and fish models. A secondary objective was to test the utility of leveraging mammalian pharmacology information to predict aquatic toxicity thresholds. The plant model, Lemna gibba, was not adversely affected at exposures as high as 10 mg/L. In the fish model, Pimephales promelas, pH affected acute toxicity thresholds and feeding behavior was more sensitive (no-observed-effect concentration = 2.8 µg/L) than standardized survival or growth endpoints. This response threshold was slightly underpredicted using a novel plasma partitioning approach and a mammalian pharmacological potency model. Interestingly, results from both acute mortality and subchronic reproduction studies indicated that the model aquatic invertebrate, Daphnia magna, was more sensitive to DPH than the fish model. These responses suggest that DPH may exert toxicity in Daphnia through ACh and histamine MOAs. The D. magna reproduction no-observed-effect concentration of 0.8 µg/L is environmentally relevant and suggests that additional studies of more potent antihistamines and antihistamine mixtures are warranted. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:2065–2072. © 2011 SETAC

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