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Aquat Toxicol. 2011 Jan 17;101(1):117-25. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.09.010. Epub 2010 Sep 25.

Uptake and effects of manufactured silver nanoparticles in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) gill cells.

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Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway.


Nanoparticles are already widely used in technology, medicine and consumer products, but there are limited data on their effects on the aquatic environment. In this study the uptake and effect of citrate (AgNP(CIT)) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (AgNP(PVP)) coated manufactured silver nanoparticles, as well as AgNO(3) (Ag(+)) were tested using primary gill cells of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Prior to use, the nanoparticles were characterized for size, surface charge and aggregation behavior. Gill cells were cultured either as monolayers on solid support, or as multilayers on a permeable support cell culturing system, enabling transport studies. The uptake of silver nanoparticles and Ag(+) after exposure to 10 mg L(-1) was determined with microscopical methods and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Cytotoxicity, in terms of membrane integrity, as well as oxidative stress (depletion of reduced glutathione) was tested at silver concentrations ranging from 0.1 mg L(-1) to 10 mg L(-1). Results show that AgNP(CIT) nanoparticles are readily taken up into gill cell monolayers while uptake was less for AgNP(PVP). In contrast, it appears that the slightly smaller AgNP(PVP) were transported through cultured multilayers to a higher extent, with transport rates generally being in the ng cm(-2) range for 48 h exposures. Transport rates for all exposures were dependent on the epithelial tightness. Moderate cytotoxic effects were seen for all silver treatments. Levels of reduced glutathione were elevated in contrast to control groups, pointing on a possible overcompensation reaction. Taken together silver nanoparticles were taken up into cells and did cause silver transport over cultured epithelial layers with uptake and transport rates being different for the two nanoparticle species. All silver treatments had measurable effects on cell viability.

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