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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Oct 15;100(2):160-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2009.11.014. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Effects of silver nanoparticles on the development and histopathology biomarkers of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) using the partial-life test.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 2871, Beijing, China.


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have emerged as an important class of nanomaterials and are currently used in a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. This has caused increasing concern about their effects on the environment and to human health. Using Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) at early-life stages as experimental models, the developmental toxicity of silver nanoparticles was investigated following exposure to 100-1000 μg/L homogeneously dispersed AgNPs for 70 days, and developmental endpoints were evaluated by microscopy during embryonic, larval and juvenile stages of development in medaka. Meanwhile, histopathological changes in the larval eye were evaluated. Retarded development and reduced pigmentation were observed in the treated embryos by AgNPs at high concentrations (≥ 400 μg/L). Maximum width of the optic tectum, as an indicator of midbrain development, decreased significantly in a dose-related manner. Furthermore, silver nanoparticles exposure at all concentrations induced a variety of morphological malformations such as edema, spinal abnormalities, finfold abnormalities, heart malformations and eye defects. Histopathological observations also confirmed the occurrence of abnormal eye development induced by AgNPs. The data showed non-linear or U-shaped dose-response patterns for growth retardation at 5 days of postfertilization, as well as the incidence of abnormalities. Preliminary results suggested that the developmental process of medaka may be affected by exposure to silver nanoparticles. Morphological abnormalities in early-life stages of medaka showed the potential developmental toxicities of silver nanoparticles. Further research should be focused on the mechanisms of developmental toxicity in fish exposed to silver nanoparticles.

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