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Cytotoxic effects of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole on the non-target marine microalga Tetraselmis suecica

Seoane, Marta, Esperanza, Marta, Cid, Ángeles
Aquatic toxicology 2017 v.191 pp. 62-72
Tetraselmis suecica, acidification, acute toxicity, biochemical pathways, biomarkers, cell death, cytotoxicity, drugs, ecotoxicology, flow cytometry, homeostasis, microalgae, mitochondrial membrane, nontarget organisms, pH, proton pump, proton pump inhibitors
Omeprazole (OMP) is one of the most commonly used drugs for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders. Although it is daily consumed in high quantities and commonly detected in waters worldwide, relatively little is known about its ecotoxicity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential acute toxicity of increasing concentrations of OMP on the marine microalga Tetraselmis suecica analysing several cytotoxicity biomarkers by flow cytometry after 24h of exposure. Results showed that OMP caused a decrease in growth and autofluorescence, an increase in cellular volume and intracellular complexity, hyperpolarization of cytoplasmic and mitochondrial membranes and intracellular acidification. In addition, large amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were generated which resulted in a decrease in the percentage of the viable population. However, the viable population showed an increase in their metabolic activity as an early response to overcome the stress. In conclusion, OMP may affect proton pumps in non-target organisms such as microalgae; it disturbed pH homeostasis and provoked an early accumulation of ROS that resulted in a rapid cell death in cells exposed to the highest concentration assayed.