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Aquat Toxicol. 2013 Mar 15;128-129:158-62. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.12.008. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Tributyltin exposure influences predatory behavior, neurotransmitter content and receptor expression in Sebastiscus marmoratus.

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Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Subtropical Wetland Ecosystem Research, Xiamen University, Xiamen, PR China.


Tributyltin (TBT) is a ubiquitous marine contaminant due to its extensive use as a biocide, fungicide and antifouling agent. However, the neurotoxic effect of TBT has not been extensively studied, especially in marine fish. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of TBT (10, 100 and 1000 ng/L) on the predatory behavior of Sebastiscus marmoratus and to look into the mechanism involved. The results showed that TBT exposure depressed predatory activity after 50 days exposure. Dopamine levels in the fish brains increased in a dose-dependent manner, while 5-hydroxytryptamine and norepinephrine levels decreased significantly in the TBT exposure group compared to the control. The mRNA levels of dopamine receptors, which have functions such as cognition, motor activity, motivation and reward, mood, attention and learning, were significantly down-regulated by TBT exposure. Although the levels of amino acid neurotransmitters, including glutamate, did not show marked alteration, the expression of the glutamatergic signaling pathway such as N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptor, calmodulin, Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases-II and cyclic adenosine monophosphate responsive element binding protein, was significantly reduced by TBT exposure, which indicated that central nerve activities were in a state of depression, thus affecting the predatory activities of the fish.

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