The effects of pharmaceuticals on the regeneration of the cnidarian, Hydra attenuata

Michael Quinn, Francois Gagne, Christian Blaise

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61 Citations (Scopus)


The Hydra attenuata regeneration assay was used to identify the teratogenic potential of 10 pharmaceuticals identified in effluent from a large city wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Three types of solvents were used to solubilise the pharmaceuticals (DMSO, acetone and ethanol), at concentrations determined to have no significant effect on measured endpoints. On the one hand, regeneration was significantly inhibited at (nominal) concentrations of 1, 5 and 1 mg/L for gemfibrozil, ibuprofen and naproxen respectively and at the higher concentration of 50 mg/L for bezafibrate and trimethoprim. On the other hand, carbamazepine and the antibiotics sulfapyridine, oxytetracycline and novobiocin significantly increased regeneration at 25, 5, 50 and 50 mg/L respectively. Relatively high IC50 values of 0.9, 3.84, 4.9 and 22.5 mg/L were calculated for gemfibrozil, ibuprofen, naproxen and bezafibrate, respectively. However when subjected to tier two toxicity assessment under EU regulatory guidance using environmentally relevant concentrations a MEC/PNEC value > 1 was calculated for gemfibrozil, ibuprofen and naproxen indicating teratogenic potential and the necessity for further tier three assessment. A toxicity index (TI) was also calculated using three different techniques, with TI values > 3 (indicating teratogenic potential) found for gemfibrozil, ibuprofen, naproxen and bezafibrate and > 1 (indicating a weak teratogenic potential) found for carbamazepine. These results are discussed in the context of their environmental relevance and toxic potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydra attenuata
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Teratogenic
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Ibuprofen
  • Pollution
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Bioassay


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