Serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram inhibits gnrh synthesis and spermatogenesis in the male zebrafish

Parvathy Prasad, Satoshi Ogawa, Ishwar Parhar

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used antidepressants for the treatment of depression. However, SSRIs cause sexual side effects such as anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, and diminished libido that are thought to be mediated through the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) system. In vertebrates, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons play an important role in the control of reproduction. To elucidate the neuroendocrine mechanisms of SSRI-induced reproductive failure, we examined the neuronal association between 5-HT and GnRH (GnRH2 and GnRH3) systems in the male zebrafish. Double-label immunofluorescence and confocal laser microscopy followed by three-dimensional construction analysis showed close associations between 5-HT fibers with GnRH3 fibers and preoptic-GnRH3 cell bodies, but there was no association with GnRH2 cell bodies and fibers. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that short-term treatment (2 wk) with low to medium doses (4 and 40 lg/L, respectively) of citalopram significantly decreased mRNA levels of gnrh3, gonadotropins (lhb and fshb) and 5-HT-related genes (tph2 and sert) in the male zebrafish. In addition, short-term citalopram treatment significantly decreased the fluorescence density of 5-HT and GnRH3 fibers compared with controls. Short-term treatment with low, medium, and high (100 lg/L) citalopram doses had no effects on the profiles of different stages of spermatogenesis, while longterm (1 mo) citalopram treatment with medium and high doses significantly inhibited the different stages of spermatogenesis. These results show morphological and functional associations between the 5-HT and the hypophysiotropic GnHR3 system, which involve SSRI-induced reproductive failures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • 5-HT
  • Gonadotropins
  • Reproduction
  • SSRI
  • Testes

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