Exposure to thiamethoxam during the larval phase affects synapsin levels in the brain of the honey bee

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Tavares, Daiana Antonia [UNESP]
Roat, Thaisa Cristina [UNESP]
Silva-Zacarin, Elaine Cristina Mathias
Nocelli, Roberta Cornélio Ferreira
Malaspina, Osmar [UNESP]

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Thiamethoxam (TMX) is a neurotoxic insecticide widely used for insect pest control. TMX and other neonicotinoids are reported to be potential causes of honey bee decline. Due to its systematic action, TMX may be recovered in pollen, bee bread, nectar, and honey, which make bees likely to be exposed to contaminated diet. In this study, we used immunolabeling to demonstrate that sublethal concentrations of TMX decrease the protein levels of synapsin in the mushroom bodies (MBs) and the antennal lobes (ALs) of pupae and newly emerged worker bees that were exposed through the food to TMX during the larval phase. A decrease in the synapsin level was observed in the MBs of pupae previously exposed to 0.001 and 1.44 ng/µL and in newly emerged bees previously exposed to 1.44 ng/µL and no changes were observed in the optical lobes (OLs). In the ALs, the decrease was observed in pupae and newly emerged bees exposed to 1.44 ng/µL. Because the MBs and ALs are brain structures involved in stimuli reception, learning, and memory consolidation and because synapsin is important for the regulation of neurotransmitter release, we hypothesize that exposure to sublethal concentrations of TMX during the larval stage may cause neurophysiological disorders in honey bees.



Apis mellifera, Honey bee development, Neonicotinoids, Pesticide, mushroom body, antennal lobe

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Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, v. 169, p. 523-528.