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Toxicol Res. 2015 Jun;31(2):157-63. doi: 10.5487/TR.2015.31.2.157.

Retinopathy Induced by Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in Rats Assessed by Micro-computed Tomography and Histopathology.

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Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Namseoul University, Cheonan, Korea.
Toxicological Research Division, National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Osong Health Technology Administration Complex, Cheongwon, Korea.
Health Care Research Laboratory, Korea Testing and Research Institute, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Health Administration, Namseoul University, Cheonan, Korea.


Nanotechnology has advanced at an extremely rapid pace over the past several years in numerous fields of research. However, the uptake of nanoparticles (NPs) into the body after administration through various routes may pose a risk to human health. In this study, we investigated the potential ocular toxicity of 20-nm, negatively- charged zinc oxide (ZnO) NPs in rats using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and histopathological assessment. Animals were divided into four groups as control group, ZnO NPs treatment group (500 mg/kg/day), control recovery group, and ZnO NPs treatment and recovery group. Ocular samples were prepared from animals treated for 90 days (10 males and 10 females, respectively) and from recovery animals (5 males and 5 females, respectively) sacrificed at 14 days after final treatment and were compared to age-matched control animals. Micro-CT analyses represented the deposition and distribution of foreign materials in the eyes of rats treated with ZnO NPs, whereas control animals showed no such findings. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and energy dispersive spectrometry showed the intraocular foreign materials as zinc in treated rats, whereas control animals showed no zinc signal. Histopathological examination revealed the retinopathy in the eyes of rats treated with ZnO NPs. Neuronal nuclei expression was decreased in neurons of the ganglion cell layer of animals treated with ZnO NPs compared to the control group. Taken together, treatment with 20-nm, negatively-charged ZnO NPs increased retinopathy, associated with local distribution of them in ocular lesions.


Histopathology; Micro-CT; Nanoparticles; Ocular toxicity; Zinc oxide

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