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Neonicotinoids are a new type of highly water-soluble insecticide used in agricultural practices to eliminate pests. Neonicotinoids bind almost irreversibly to postsynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the central nervous system of invertebrates, resulting in overstimulation, paralysis, and death. Imidacloprid, the most commonly used neonicotinoid, is often transported to nearby wetlands through subsurface tile drains and has been identified as a neurotoxin in several aquatic non-target organisms. The aim of the present study was to determine if imidacloprid could cross the blood-brain barrier in adult Northern Leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) following exposure to 0, 0.1, 1, 5, or 10 μg/L for 21 days. Additionally, we quantified the breakdown product of imidacloprid, imidacloprid-olefin, and conducted feeding trials to better understand how imidacloprid affects foraging behavior over time. Exposure groups had 12 to 313 times more imidacloprid in the brain relative to the control and breakdown products showed a dose-response relationship. Moreover, imidacloprid brain concentrations were approximately 14 times higher in the 10 μg/L treatment compared to the water exposure concentration, indicating imidacloprid can bioaccumulate in the amphibian brain. Reaction times to a food stimulus were 1.5 to 3.2 times slower among treatment groups compared to the control. Furthermore, there was a positive relationship between mean response time and log-transformed imidacloprid brain concentration. These results indicate imidacloprid can successfully cross the blood-brain barrier and bioaccumulate in adult amphibians. Our results also provide insights into the relationship between imidacloprid brain concentration and subsequent altered foraging behavior. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.


K S Campbell, P G Keller, L M Heinzel, S A Golovko, D R Seeger, M Y Golovko, J L Kerby. Detection of imidacloprid and metabolites in Northern Leopard frog (Rana pipiens) brains. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Mar 20;813:152424

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PMID: 34942261

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