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Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Nov;114(11):1697-702.

Distribution of nanoparticles in the see-through medaka (Oryzias latipes).

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  • 1Research Center for Environmental Chemical Risk, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan.



Because the environmental fate of manufactured nanoparticles is considered an emerging environmental concern, I used water-suspended fluorescent nanoparticles (solid latex solution) to investigate the distribution of nanoparticles in the eggs and bodies of see-through medaka (Oryzias latipes).


Particles 39.4-42,000 nm in diameter were adsorbed to the chorion of medaka eggs and accumulated in the oil droplets; 474-nm particles had the highest bioavailability to eggs. Particles 39.4 nm in diameter shifted into the yolk and gallbladder during embryonic development. Adult medaka accumulated 39.4-nm nanoparticles mainly in the gills and intestine when exposed to a 10-mg/L nanoparticle solution. Nanoparticles were also detected in the brain, testis, liver, and blood. Concentrations of nanoparticles in the blood of male and female medaka were 16.5 and 10.5 ng/mg blood protein, respectively. These results suggest that nanoparticles are capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and that they eventually reach the brain. Salinity-dependent acute toxicity was observed in medaka eggs exposed for 24 hr to nanoparticles.


The bioavailability and toxicity of nanoparticles depend on environmental factors and multiple physicochemical properties. Further studies on the toxic effects of nanoparticles used in commercial products and their environmental relevance, are necessary to define the risks and benefit of nanomaterial applications.

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