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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Dec 1;12(23):7086-91.

In vivo radioprotection by the fullerene nanoparticle DF-1 as assessed in a zebrafish model.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-5097, USA.



We have previously shown that zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos can be used as an in vivo model to validate modifiers of the radiation response. Here, we evaluated the radioprotective effect of the nanoparticle DF-1, a fullerene with antioxidant properties, in zebrafish embryos.


Zebrafish embryos were exposed to different doses of ionizing radiation ranging from 20 to 80 Gy in the presence and absence of DF-1. Toxicity and radioprotective effects were assessed by monitoring overall survival and morphology as well as organ functions by employing assays to measure kidney excretory function and development of sensory nerve cells (neuromasts). Antioxidant properties of DF-1 were assessed in whole fish.


DF-1 had no apparent adverse effects on normal zebrafish morphology or viability throughout the concentration range tested (1-1,000 micromol/L). Ionizing radiation (10-40 Gy) caused time-dependent and dose-dependent perturbations of normal zebrafish morphology and physiology, notably defective midline development resulting in dorsal curvature of the body axis ("curly-up"), neurotoxicity, impaired excretory function, and decreased survival of the exposed embryos. DF-1 (100 micromol/L) markedly attenuated overall and organ-specific radiation-induced toxicity when given within 3 hours before or up to 15 minutes after radiation exposure. By contrast, DF-1 afforded no protection when given 30 minutes after ionizing radiation. The degree of radioprotection provided by DF-1 was comparable with that provided by the Food and Drug Administration-approved radioprotector amifostine (4 mmol/L). Protection against radiation-associated toxicity using DF-1 in zebrafish embryos was associated with marked reduction of radiation-induced reactive oxygen species.


The fullerene DF-1 protects zebrafish embryos against deleterious effects of ionizing radiation due, in part, to its antioxidant properties.

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