Effects of the antidepressant fluoxetine on pigment dispersion in chromatophores of the common sand shrimp, Crangon crangon: repeated experiments paint an inconclusive picture

Alex Ford, Eleanor Mary Feuerhelm

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The effects of antidepressants in the environment are starting to generate considerable interest due to the fact that neurotransmitters influence a range of biological processes. Crypsis is an important behavioural and physiological response in many crustaceans modulated by monoamine and pigment dispersing/concentrating hormones. This study aimed to develop a test methodology and investigate the effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, on a chromatophore index and overall carapace ‘darkness’ in the common sand shrimp Crangon crangon. Adult shrimp were exposed for either 1 h, 1 day or 1 week across a range of nominal fluoxetine concentrations (10 ng/L, 100 ng/L and 1000 ng/L) and the chromatophore index or carapace percentage ‘darkness’ was recorded following 30 min on white and black substrates. These experiments were repeated three times using different specimens. Animals became significantly darker (~20%) on darker background and lighter on light backgrounds as one might expect. However, time periods over which the animals were recorded had a significant impact on the colouration suggesting habituation to laboratory conditions. Fluoxetine exposure came up as a significant factor in two of the three trials for the chromatophore index but the results was inconsistent between trials. There was a high degree of correlation between the chromatophore index and the percentage darkness analyses however, there was no significant effects for fluoxetine exposure with the percentage darkness data. We conclude that the effects on antidepressants on colour change remain inconclusive from these experiments and we discuss potential areas to improve the repeatability of the experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Early online date28 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Aug 2020


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