Toxicokinetics of the Antidepressant Fluoxetine and Its Active Metabolite Norfluoxetine in Caenorhabditis elegans and Their Comparative Potency

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Abstract

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a valuable model for ecotoxicological research, yet limited attention has been given to understanding how it absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes chemicals. This is crucial for C. elegans because the organism is known to have strong uptake barriers that are known to be susceptible to potential confounding effects of the presence of Escherichia coli as a food source. One frequently studied compound in C. elegans is the antidepressant fluoxetine, which has an active metabolite norfluoxetine. In this study, we evaluated the toxicokinetics and relative potency of norfluoxetine and fluoxetine in chemotaxis and activity tests. Toxicokinetics experiments were conducted with varying times, concentrations of fluoxetine, and in the absence or presence of E. coli, simulated with a one-compartment model. Our findings demonstrate that C. elegans can take up fluoxetine and convert it into norfluoxetine. Norfluoxetine proved slightly more potent and had a longer elimination half-life. The bioconcentration factor, uptake, and elimination rate constants depended on exposure levels, duration, and the presence of E. coli in the exposure medium. These findings expand our understanding of toxicokinetic modeling in C. elegans for different exposure scenarios, underlining the importance of considering norfluoxetine formation in exposure and bioactivity assessments of fluoxetine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3129-3140
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume58
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2024

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