Mild Effects of Sunscreen Agents on a Marine Flatfish: Oxidative Stress, Energetic Profiles, Neurotoxicity and Behaviour in Response to Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles and Oxybenzone.


Carvalhais A(1), Pereira B(1), Sabato M(2), Seixas R(1), Dolbeth M(3), Marques A(1), Guilherme S(1), Pereira P(1), Pacheco M(1), Mieiro C(1).
Author information:
(1)CESAM and Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.
(2)Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Messina, 98166 Messina, Italy.
(3)CIIMAR, University of Porto, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal.


UV filters are potentially harmful to marine organisms. Given their worldwide dissemination and the scarcity of studies on marine fish, we evaluated the toxicity of an organic (oxybenzone) and an inorganic (titanium dioxide nanoparticles) UV filter, individually and in a binary mixture, in the turbot (Scophthalmus maximus). Fish were intraperitoneally injected and a multi-level assessment was carried out 3 and 7 days later. Oxybenzone and titanium dioxide nanoparticles induced mild effects on turbot, both isolated and in mixture. Neither oxidative stress (intestine, liver and kidney) nor neurotoxicity (brain) was found. However, liver metabolic function was altered after 7 days, suggesting the impairment of the aerobic metabolism. An increased motility rate in oxybenzone treatment was the only behavioural alteration (day 7). The intestine and liver were preferentially targeted, while kidney and brain were unaffected. Both infra- and supra-additive interactions were perceived, with a toxicodynamic nature, resulting either in favourable or unfavourable toxicological outcomes, which were markedly dependent on the organ, parameter and post-injection time. The combined exposure to the UV filters did not show a consistent increment in toxicity in comparison with the isolated exposures, which is an ecologically relevant finding providing key information towards the formulation of environmentally safe sunscreen products.