Molecular docking: a potential tool to aid ecotoxicity testing in environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals

Walker, Samantha Dawn and McEldowney, Sharron (2013) Molecular docking: a potential tool to aid ecotoxicity testing in environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals. Chemosphere, 93 (10). pp. 2568-2577. ISSN 0045-6535

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A cocktail of human pharmaceuticals pollute aquatic environments and there is considerable scientific uncertainty about the effects that this may have on aquatic organisms. Human drug target proteins can be highly conserved in non target species suggesting that similar modes of action (MoA) may occur. The aim of this work was to explore whether molecular docking offers a potential tool to predict the effects of pharmaceutical compounds on non target organisms. Three highly prescribed drugs, diclofenac, ibuprofen and levonorgestrel which regularly pollute freshwater environments were used as examples. Their primary drug targets are cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and progesterone receptor (PR). Molecular docking experiments were performed using these drugs and their primary drug target homologues for Danio rerio, Salmo salar, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Xenopus tropicalis, Xenopus laevis and Daphnia pulex. The results show that fish and frog COX2 enzymes are likely to bind diclofenac and ibuprofen in the same way as humans but that D. pulex would not. Binding will probably lead to inhibition of COX function and reduced prostaglandin production. Levonorgestrel was found to bind in the same binding pocket of the progesterone receptor in frogs and fish as the human form. This suggests implications for the fecundity of fish and frogs which are exposed to levonorgestrel. Chronic ecotoxicological effects of these drugs reported in the literature support these findings. Molecular docking may provide a valuable tool for ecotoxicity tests by guiding selection of test species and incorporating the MoA of drugs for relevant chronic test end points in environmental risk assessments.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Science and Technology > Life Sciences, School of (No longer in use)
Depositing User: Rachel Wheelhouse
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 11:20
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2013 11:20

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