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Aquat Toxicol. 2008 Feb 18;86(3):333-40. Epub 2007 Nov 22.

Ecotoxicity of CdTe quantum dots to freshwater mussels: impacts on immune system, oxidative stress and genotoxicity.

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  • 1Fluvial Ecosystem Research, Environment Canada, 105 McGill Street, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2E7.


The purpose of this study was to examine the toxic effects of cadmium-telluride (CdTe) quantum dots on freshwater mussels. Elliption complanata mussels were exposed to increasing concentrations of CdTe (0, 1.6, 4 and 8 mg/L) and cadmium sulfate (CdSO(4), 0.5mg/L) for 24h at 15 degrees C. After the exposure period, they were removed for assessments of immunocompetence, oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation) and genotoxicity (DNA strand breaks). Preliminary experiments revealed that CdTe dissolved in aquarium water tended to aggregate in the particulate phase (85%) while 15% of CdTe was found in the dissolved phase. Immunotoxicity was characterized by a significant decrease in the number of hemocytes capable of ingesting fluorescent beads, and hemocyte viability. The cytotoxic capacity of hemocytes to lyse mammalian K-562 cells was significantly increased, but the number of circulating hemocytes remained unchanged. Lipid peroxidation was significantly increased at a threshold concentration of 5.6 mg/L in gills and significantly reduced in digestive glands at a threshold concentration <1.6 mg/L CdTe. The levels of DNA strand breaks were significantly reduced in gills at <1.6 mg/L CdTe. In digestive glands, a transient but marginal increase in DNA strand breaks occurred at the lowest concentration and dropped significantly at the higher concentrations. A multivariate analysis revealed that the various response patterns differed based on the concentration of CdTe, thus permitting the identification of biomarkers associated with the form (colloidal vs. molecular) of cadmium.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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