Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Assessing the impact of diclofenac, ibuprofen and sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) on the fertilisation biology of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Matt Bentley, Dr Gary Caldwell



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Exposure to synthetic chemicals is a key environmental challenge faced by aquatic organisms. The time and dose effects of the pharmaceuticals diclofenac, ibuprofen, and sildenafil citrate on sperm motility and successful fertilisation are studied using the echinoderms, Asterias rubens and Psammechinus miliaris, and the polychaete worm Arenicola marina, all important components of the marine benthos. Motility was reduced for all species when exposed to diclofenac concentrations ≥ 0.1 µg/L. Exposure to ≥1.0 µg/L of ibuprofen affected only P. miliaris gametes and fertilisation success of A. marina. A. rubens and P. miliaris sperm increased in both percentage motility and swimming velocity when exposed to sildenafil citrate at concentrations ≥18 and ≥50 ng/L, respectively. Pre-incubation of sperm with sildenafil citrate significantly increased fertilisation success in A. rubens and P. miliaris but not in A. marina.Pre-incubated A. rubens oocytes fertilised successfully in ibuprofen. According to EU Directive 93/67/EEC, diclofenac is classified as a very toxic substance to gametes of A. rubens, P. miliaris, and A. marina (EC50 = 100-1,000 µg/L) while ibuprofen is classified as very toxic to gametes of P. miliaris but non-toxic to gametes of A. marina (EC50 >10,000 µg/L). The present study indicates that diclofenac exposure may have negative impacts on invertebrate reproductive success, whereas ibuprofen potentially may compromise P. miliaris reproduction. This study provides a valuable insight into the mechanisms that allow marine invertebrates to survive and reproduce in contaminated and changing habitats.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zanuri NM, Bentley MG, Caldwell GS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Environmental Research

Year: 2017

Volume: 127

Pages: 126-136

Print publication date: 01/06/2017

Online publication date: 08/04/2017

Acceptance date: 04/04/2017

Date deposited: 04/04/2017

ISSN (print): 0141-1136

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0291

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.04.005


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric