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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 Feb 1;242(3):263-9. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.10.016. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

Silver nanoparticles induced heat shock protein 70, oxidative stress and apoptosis in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH 45469, USA.


Due to the intensive commercial application of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), risk assessment of this nanoparticle is of great importance. Our previous in vitro study demonstrated that Ag NPs caused DNA damage and apoptosis in mouse embryonic stem cells and fibroblasts. However, toxicity of Ag NPs in vivo is largely lacking. This study was undertaken to examine the toxic effects of well-characterized polysaccharide coated 10 nm Ag NPs on heat shock stress, oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis in Drosophila melanogaster. Third instar larvae of D. melanogaster were fed a diet of standard cornmeal media mixed with Ag NPs at the concentrations of 50 and 100 microg/ml for 24 and 48 h. Ag NPs up-regulated the expression of heat shock protein 70 and induced oxidative stress in D. melanogaster. Malondialdehyde level, an end product of lipid peroxidation was significantly higher while antioxidant glutathione content was significantly lower in Ag NPs exposed organisms. Activities of antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase and catalase were also significantly higher in the organisms exposed to Ag NPs. Furthermore, Ag NPs up-regulated the cell cycle checkpoint p53 and cell signaling protein p38 that are involved in the DNA damage repair pathway. Moreover, activities of caspase-3 and caspase-9, markers of apoptosis were significantly higher in Ag NPs exposed organisms. The results indicate that Ag NPs in D. melanogaster induce heat shock stress, oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis. This study suggests that the organism is stressed and thus warrants more careful assessment of Ag NPs using in vivo models to determine if chronic exposure presents developmental and reproductive toxicity.

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