Insights on the metabolization of the antidepressant venlafaxine by meagre (Argyrosomus regius) using a combined target and suspect screening approach

Bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals in fish exposed to contaminated water can be shaped by their capability to metabolize these xenobiotics, affecting their toxicity and animal welfare. In this study the in vivo metabolization of the antidepressant venlafaxine by the juvenile marine fish meagre (Argyrosomus regius) was evaluated using a combined target and suspect screening analytical approach. Thirteen venlafaxine metabolites were identified, namely N-desmethylvenlafaxine and N,N-didesmethylvenlafaxine, which were unequivocally identified using analytical standards, and 11 more tentatively identified by suspect screening analysis, including two Phase II metabolites formed by amino acid conjugation. All of them were detected in the liver, while in plasma and brain only 9 and 6 metabolites, respectively, were detected. Based on these findings, for the first time, a tentative metabolization pathway of venlafaxine by A. regius is proposed. Contrarily to what happen in humans, N-demethylation was identified as the main route of metabolization of venlafaxine by fish. Our findings highlight species-specificity in the metabolization of venlafaxine and allow a better understanding of venlafaxine's toxicokinetic in fish. These results emphasize the need to investigate the biotransformation of xenobiotics by non-target organisms to have an integrated overview of their environmental exposure and to improve future evaluations of environmental risk assessment ​
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