Suppressive immunoregulatory effects of three antidepressantsviainhibition of the nuclear factor-κB activation assessed using primary macrophages of carp (Cyprinus carpio)

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Antidepressants, having been applied for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other conditions for decades, are among the most commonly detected human pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. This study evaluated the immunotoxicity of acute exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of amitriptyline, fluoxetine and mianserin using an in vitro primary macrophage model isolated from red common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and also explored their potential mechanisms of action. A potential suppressive immunoregulatory effect of antidepressant exposure was suggested based on the observed suppressive effects on oxidative stress parameters, bactericidal activity, NO production, and NO synthase activity, as well as pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression, and a significant stimulatory effect on anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 and interferon cytokine gene expression and ATPase activities in macrophages after 6 h-exposure to three individual antidepressants and a combination thereof. Notably, we also found these effects were significantly associated with a corresponding decrease in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity after antidepressants exposure, and the NF-κB antagonist significantly restrained the effects of antidepressants on gene expression of cytokines, indicating that antidepressants could alter the response of various immune-associated components via the inhibition of NF-κB. Moreover, time-dependent lethal concentrations of three antidepressants on primary macrophages were firstly determined at mg/L levels, and the synergetic effects of antidepressant mixtures were suggested and in particular, for some parameters including total antioxidant capacity and cytokine genes expression, they could be significantly affected by antidepressants exposure at concentrations as low as 10 ng/L, which together thereby revealed the potential risk of antidepressants to aquatic life.Graphical abstractHighlightsThree different antidepressants all have immunoregulatory effects on macrophages.Pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression was inhibited by drug exposure.Anti-inflammatory cytokine gene expression was induced by drug exposure.NF-κB pathway was involved in the effects of antidepressants.Synergetic effects occurred at environmentally relevant concentration of 10 ng/L.

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