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Acute Imidacloprid Exposure Alters Mitochondrial Function in Bumblebee Flight Muscle and Brain

Sargent, Chloe; Ebanks, Brad; Hardy, Ian C.; Davies, T. G. Emyr; Chakrabarti, Lisa; Stöger, Reinhard

Acute Imidacloprid Exposure Alters Mitochondrial Function in Bumblebee Flight Muscle and Brain Thumbnail


Chloe Sargent

Brad Ebanks

Ian C. Hardy

T. G. Emyr Davies

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Professor of Mitochondrial Biology


Mitochondria are intracellular organelles responsible for cellular respiration with one of their major roles in the production of energy in the form of ATP. Activities with increased energetic demand are especially dependent on efficient ATP production, hence sufficient mitochondrial function is fundamental. In bees, flight muscle and the brain have particularly high densities of mitochondria to facilitate the substantial ATP production required for flight activity and neuronal signalling. Neonicotinoids are systemic synthetic insecticides that are widely utilized against crop herbivores but have been reported to cause, by unknown mechanisms, mitochondrial dysfunction, decreasing cognitive function and flight activity among pollinating bees. Here we explore, using high-resolution respirometry, how the neonicotinoid imidacloprid may affect oxidative phosphorylation in the brain and flight muscle of the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. We find that acute exposure increases routine oxygen consumption in the flight muscle of worker bees. This provides a candidate explanation for prior reports of early declines in flight activity following acute exposure. We further find that imidacloprid increases the maximum electron transport capacity in the brain, with a trend towards increased overall oxygen consumption. However, intra-individual variability is high, limiting the extent to which apparent effects of imidacloprid on brain mitochondria are shown conclusively. Overall, our results highlight the necessity to examine tissue-specific effects of imidacloprid on respiration and energy production.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 19, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 1, 2021
Journal Frontiers in Insect Science
Electronic ISSN 2673-8600
Publisher Frontiers Media SA
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Article Number 765179
Keywords Insect Science; Ecology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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