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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5792621, 8 pages
Research Article

Sertraline Induces Toxicity and Behavioral Alterations in Planarians

Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology, Department of Morphological Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Marcos Emílio Frizzo

Received 26 December 2016; Revised 26 April 2017; Accepted 4 May 2017; Published 24 May 2017

Academic Editor: Adair Santos

Copyright © 2017 Isabela Salvador Thumé and Marcos Emílio Frizzo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Toxicity attributed to sertraline has been demonstrated recently in different cell types and also in some organisms. We investigated the effect of sertraline on planarians, which are considered suitable for investigations in neurotoxicology and currently are widely used as an animal model in neuropharmacological studies. Planarians treated with 10 µM sertraline showed a rapid reduction in their spontaneous movement until they became completely motionless and then showed a series of asynchronous paroxysms (seizures) followed by progressive tissue damage, beginning 48 h after the sertraline treatment, and died approximately 72 h later. Our data showed that sertraline does not cause planarian death within the range of therapeutic concentrations; however, behavioral alterations were observed with concentrations that can be considered compatible with therapeutic ones, such as a significant reduction in planarian locomotory activity at 0.4 µM. Treatment with 4 µM sertraline had a significant effect, reducing planarian locomotory activity and increasing the number of asynchronous paroxysms; both effects were significantly maintained even 24 h after the sertraline was withdrawn. These behavioral changes observed at low micromolar concentrations suggest that sertraline might have residual biological consequences for planarians, even after it is withdrawn.