Disruption of the prostaglandin metabolome and characterization of the pharmaceutical exposome in fish exposed to wastewater treatment works effluent as revealed by nanoflow-nanospray mass spectrometry-based metabolomics

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David, Arthur ; Lange, Anke ; Abdul-Sada, Alaa ; Tyler, Charles R ; Hill, Elizabeth M (2016)

Fish can be exposed to a complex mixture of chemical contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, present in discharges of wastewater treatment works (WwTWs) effluents. There is little information on the effects of effluent exposure on fish metabolism, especially the small molecule signaling compounds which are the biological target of many pharmaceuticals. We applied a newly developed sensitive nanoflow-nanospray mass spectrometry nontargeted profiling technique to identify changes in the exposome and metabolome of roach (Rutilus rutilus) exposed to a final WwTWs effluent for 15 days. Effluent exposure resulted in widespread reduction (between 50% and 90%) in prostaglandin (PG) profiles in fish tissues and plasma with disruptions also in tryptophan/serotonin, bile acid and lipid metabolism. Metabolite disruptions were not explained by altered expression of genes associated with the PG or tryptophan metabolism. Of the 31 pharmaceutical metabolites that were detected in the effluent exposome of fish, 6 were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs but with plasma concentrations too low to disrupt PG biosynthesis. PGs, bile acids, and tryptophan metabolites are important mediators regulating a diverse array of physiological systems in fish and the identity of wastewater contaminants disrupting their metabolism warrants further investigation on their exposure effects on fish health.
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