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Toxicol Sci. 2005 Dec;88(2):412-9. Epub 2005 Jul 13.

In vitro cytotoxicity of nanoparticles in mammalian germline stem cells.

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Department of Biology, The University of Dayton, OH 45469, USA.


Gametogenesis is a complex biological process that is particularly sensitive to environmental insults such as chemicals. Many chemicals have a negative impact on the germline, either by directly affecting the germ cells, or indirectly through their action on the somatic nursing cells. Ultimately, these effects can inhibit fertility, and they may have negative consequences for the development of the offspring. Recently, nanomaterials such as nanotubes, nanowires, fullerene derivatives (buckyballs), and quantum dots have received enormous national attention in the creation of new types of analytical tools for biotechnology and the life sciences. Despite the wide application of nanomaterials, there is a serious lack of information concerning their impact on human health and the environment. Thus, there are limited studies available on toxicity of nanoparticles for risk assessment of nanomaterials. The purpose of this study was to assess the suitability of a mouse spermatogonial stem cell line as a model to assess nanotoxicity in the male germline in vitro. The effects of different types of nanoparticles on these cells were evaluated by light microscopy, and by cell proliferation and standard cytotoxicity assays. Our results demonstrate a concentration-dependent toxicity for all types of particles tested, whereas the corresponding soluble salts had no significant effect. Silver nanoparticles were the most toxic while molybdenum trioxide (MoO(3)) nanoparticles were the least toxic. Our results suggest that this cell line provides a valuable model with which to assess the cytotoxicity of nanoparticles in the germ line in vitro.

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