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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Jan 21;96(1):44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2009.09.016. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Effects of silver and gold nanoparticles on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hepatocytes.

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Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway.


The use of nanomaterials is rapidly increasing, while little is known about their possible ecotoxicological effects. This work investigates the toxic effects of silver (Ag) and gold (Au) nanoparticles on rainbow trout hepatocytes. In addition to toxicity assessment the particles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). Hepatocyte primary cultures were exposed to Au and Ag nanoparticles, with and without dissolved organic carbon (DOC), as well as HAuCl(4) and AgNO(3) as ionic solutions at concentrations up to 17.4mg/L and 19mg/L, respectively. Ag and Au particles were within the small nanometer size range when dispersed in pure water. In media with higher ionic strength and DOC, particles tended to agglomerate. Cytotoxicity assessments showed that Ag nanoparticles caused a significant reduction in membrane integrity and cellular metabolic activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Au nanoparticles caused a threefold elevation of ROS levels, but no cytotoxicity occurred at concentrations tested. The addition of DOC did not alter the particles potency of cytotoxicity or ROS induction capacity. The current study shows that Ag and Au nanoparticles have adverse effects on rainbow trout hepatocytes at low mg/L concentrations.

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