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Side effects of itraconazole on post-metamorphic Alytes obstetricans after a cold stress

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 1Department of Conservation Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, 04138 Leipzig, Germany
  • | 2 2Department of System Ecotoxicology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, 04138 Leipzig, Germany
  • | 3 3ECOLAB, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, INPT, UPS, Toulouse, France
  • | 4 4TerrOïko, 2 rue Clémence Isaure, 31250 Revel, France
  • | 5 5Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK
  • | 6 6Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, W2 1PG, UK
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Itraconazole is the most widely used treatment against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen causing chytridiomycosis, a proximate cause of amphibian declines. Several side effects of itraconazole treatment, ranging in severity from depigmentation to death have been reported in different amphibian species and life stages, and these side effects were observed at commonly used dosages of itraconazole. However, no studies have investigated side-effects of itraconazole in conjunction with environmental stress. Post-metamorphic midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) that were treated with itraconazole and subsequently exposed to a cold stress (exposure to 4°C cold water) had higher mortality rates compared to untreated individuals. Moreover, adults of booroolong frogs (Litoria booroolongensis) treated with itraconazole had a higher probability to become infected when subsequently exposed to Bd. Our results suggest that a post-metamorphosis itraconazole treatment of infected midwife toads combined with a subsequent release into the wild may be an ineffective disease mitigation strategy, as the cold stress during hibernation and/or exposure to Bd in the wild may reduce the hibernation emergence rate of treated individuals in this species.

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