Contamination of aquatic environment with anticancer reagents influences Daphnia magna – Ecotoxicogenomics approach

Mielecki, Damian, et al. “Contamination of aquatic environment with anticancer reagents influences Daphnia magna–Ecotoxicogenomics approach.” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 249 (2023): 114372.


Pharmaceuticals used in human medicine contaminate freshwater ecosystems. Chemotherapeutics applied in cancer treatment are found in freshwaters at low concentrations (in the range of ng L−1) which, however, can be toxic or mutagenic to aquatic organisms. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of the alkylating/crosslinking anticancer agents, cyclophosphamide (CP) and cisplatin (CDDP), at the concentration detected in water, on Daphnia magna life history, transcriptome, and proteome. This filter feeding cladoceran is an important member of the aquatic food webs controlling algal biomass and forming basic food for planktivorous fish. Here, observations of the D. magna growth rate, age at first reproduction, and the number of eggs produced were performed in the presence of CP or CDDP. The D. magna proteins and RNA were isolated and analysed by mass spectrometry and the mRNA-seq method, respectively. Five generations of contact with the pharmaceuticals in question significantly influenced the D. magna life history parameters with the growth rate and number of laid eggs decreased, whereas age at first reproduction was increased. A decrease in survivorship was observed when daphnids were exposed to CP. These changes are the result of modifications in the gene/transcript expression followed by differences in the proteome profile in comparison to the untreated control. The proteome changes were generally in accordance with the modified transcriptome. The ecotoxicogenomics approach makes it possible to get closer to a complete picture of the influence of CP and CDDP on Daphnia. We have gathered evidence that animals in the presence of anticancer pharmaceuticals attempt to cope with permanent stress by changing their proteome and transcriptome profile. Additionally, our analyses indicate that CDDP showed a stronger effect on tested organisms than CP.