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Int J Nanomedicine. 2015 Oct 5;10:6243-56. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S90733. eCollection 2015.

Effects of silver nanoparticles on neonatal testis development in mice.

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Department of Animal Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea ; College of Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.
Department of Animal Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Metal nanoparticles (MNPs) play an important role in consumer products. An increasing use of MNPs has raised concerns about potential risks for human health. Therefore, in vivo tests of MNPs are urgently required. Using mice as a model animal, the aim of the present study was designed to investigate the effect of biologically synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on spermatogenesis in neonatal mice.


AgNPs were synthesized using Bacillus funiculus. The prepared nanoparticles were characterized using various analytical techniques such as UV-visible spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The prepared AgNPs were used to investigate testis development in neonatal mice. Institute of Cancer Research neonatal male mice were used in all experiments and were treated with different doses (0, 1, and 5 mg/kg) of AgNPs five times (interval of 3 days from postnatal day [PND] 8-21) by abdominal subcutaneous injection.


The results showed that the sperm abnormalities such as quality and quantity were significantly increased by the synthesized AgNPs. The diameter of the convoluted tubules shrank significantly in mice treated with AgNPs on PND28 and PND42. The results of reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction indicated that the E1f1ay, Gsta4, and Fdx1 genes were up-regulated, and the Amh, Cx43, and Claudin-11 genes were down-regulated in response to AgNPs exposure on PND28; however, these genes recovered at PND60. AgNPs had no effect on the recombination levels of chromosomes in germ cells.


These results demonstrated the adverse effects of AgNPs on the male reproductive tract, particularly spermatogenesis and the quality of sperm. This study suggests that the development of nanomaterials should be safer and non-toxic to the living organisms and the potential reprotoxicity of AgNPs should be investigated more carefully.


gene expression; male mouse; silver nanoparticles; sperm; testis development

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