Effects of the pharmaceuticals gemfibrozil and diclofenac on the marine mussel (Mytilus spp.) and their comparison with standardized toxicity tests

Wiebke Schmidt, Kathleen O'Rourke, Robert Hernan, Brian Quinn

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Human pharmaceuticals, like the lipid lowering agent gemfibrozil and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac are causing environmental concern. In this study, the marine mussel (Mytilus spp.) was exposed by injection to environmentally relevant and elevated (1 mu g/L and 1000 mu g/L) concentrations of both compounds and biomarker expression was observed. Gemfibrozil exposure induced biomarkers of stress (glutathione S-transferase and metallothionein) at both concentrations 24 h and 96 h after exposure, respectively. Biomarkers of damage (lipid peroxidation (LPO) and DNA damage) were significantly affected, as well as the biomarker for reproduction, alkali-labile phosphate assay, indicating the potential oxidative stress and endocrine disrupting effect of gemfibrozil. Diclofenac significantly induced LPO after 96 h indicating tissue damage. Additionally standard toxicity tests using the marine species Vibrio fischeri, Skeletonema costatum and Tisbe battagliai showed differences in sensitivity to both drugs in the mg/L range. Results indicate a suite of tests should be used to give accurate information for regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1395
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Gemfibrozil
  • Diclofenac
  • Mussel
  • Biomarker
  • Toxicity test
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Pollution
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Bioassay

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