We are hosting a Southern Ontario Pub Night in Hamilton Next Monday on February 12! Join us for an engaging talk, delicious food, cozy atmosphere, and fine brew! Drinks are available from the brewery, and pizza will be available for purchase. Please indicate if you would like pizza when RSVPing!

Title: Is Metformin a pharmaceutical of concern for fish health?

Speaker: Dr. Joanna Wilson, McMaster University

When: Monday, February 12, 2024 | 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Where: Fairweather Brewing Company, 5 Ofield Rd Unit #1, Hamilton, Ontario

Cost: Pay what you can – help support our AGM student awards! Pizza available for sale at the venue for 2$/slice.

Please RSVP using this form. Please indicate if you would be interested in pizza and if you would like a GF option.

Dr. Joanna Wilson

Dr. Wilson is a Professor and the Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Biology at McMaster University. Dr. Wilson is an aquatic toxicologist and physiologist whose work primarily intersects the fields of environmental physiology, ecology, biochemistry, toxicology, bioinformatics, and functional genomics. Her research focuses on the evolution, regulation, and function of cytochrome P450 enzymes and the effects of environmental contaminants, temperature, and low dose radiation on the development, growth, and reproduction of marine and freshwater species.


Is Metformin a pharmaceutical of concern for fish health?

Metformin is the most common first-line oral pharmaceutical agent used in the treatment of type-2 diabetes, one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in North America. This pharmaceutical is on the WHO’s list of most essential medications and antidiabetic medications are the second most commonly prescribed medication in North America. Post excretion, metformin enters wastewater treatment plants where it is partially bio-transformed by bacteria into guanylurea. Both metformin and guanylurea enter freshwater environments in wastewater effluent. The high use of metformin results in a high frequency of detection and one of the highest concentrations detected for a pharmaceutical in surface waters. This had led to a major concern for environmental effects but, in fish, effects appear modest at best. We will discuss the developmental toxicity of metformin and guanylurea, based on exposures in zebrafish (Danio rerio) to both environmentally relevant and supra-environmental concentrations (0.4 – 4000 μg·L−1). Environmentally relevant concentrations had limited or no effects on mortality, hatching, abnormalities, morphometrics, cardiac development, energetic state, and behaviour of early larvae.  This highlights the challenge in prioritizing contaminants of emerging concern, which is often based on environmental concentrations. We will discuss the prioritization of pharmaceuticals as contaminants of emerging concern and the role for important biological contexts.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Laurentian SETAC Pub Night Committee