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Responses in fish exposed to medetomidine, a new antifouling agent

Journal article
Authors Anna Lennquist
Annelie Hilvarsson
Lars Förlin
Published in Marine Environmental Research
Volume 69
Pages S43-S45
ISSN 0141-1136
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Zoology
Department of Marine Ecology
Department of Zoology, Zoophysiology
Pages S43-S45
Language en
Keywords antifouling; fish; medetomidine
Subject categories Biological Sciences


Medetomidine is being introduced as a new antifouling agent. As part of a large risk assessment campaign, we have studied responses to medetomidine in a number of fish species. The studied parameters include respiration, blood parameters, antioxidant enzymes, CYP1A, behaviour, pigmentation, reproduction and growth. The main observations from these studies are: 1. Body paleness at water concentrations in the range of 0.5-50 nM, depending on species. In addition, impaired adaptation to the background colour was shown in fry from turbot and lumpfish. In rainbow trout, desensitization of melanophores (pigment cells) occurred in fish exposed to medetomidine for 21 days, but a prolonged study (54 days exposure time), showed that the melanophores were well functioning and in addition that no apoptosis had occurred. 2. CYP1A activities, measured as EROD activities, were increased at medetomidine water concentrations from 0.5-5 nM in rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, turbot and three-spined stickleback. However, investigations in vitro showed medetomidine to be a potent inhibitor of EROD activity. 3. In lumpfish and turbot fry, a decreased oxygen consumption and respiration rate was observed from 2 nM medetomidine. This effect was reversible to a large extent.

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