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Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Toxicology & pharmacology : CBP

Persistent adult zebrafish behavioral deficits results from acute embryonic exposure to gold nanoparticles.


PMID 21946249

Abstract

As the number of products containing nanomaterials increase, human exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) is unavoidable. Presently, few studies focus on the potential long-term consequences of developmental NP exposure. In this study, zebrafish embryos were acutely exposed to three gold NPs that possess functional groups with differing surface charge. Embryos were exposed to 50 μg/mL of 1.5 nm gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) possessing negatively charged 2-mercaptoethanesulfonic acid (MES) or neutral 2-(2-(2-mercaptoethoxy)ethoxy)ethanol (MEEE) ligands or 10 μg/mL of the AuNPs possessing positively charged trimethylammoniumethanethiol (TMAT). Both MES- and TMAT-AuNP exposed embryos exhibited hypo-locomotor activity, while those exposed to MEEE-AuNPs did not. A subset of embryos that were exposed to 1.5 nm MES- and TMAT-AuNPs during development from 6 to 120 h post fertilization was raised to adulthood. Behavioral abnormalities and the number of survivors into adulthood were evaluated at 122 days post fertilization. We found that both treatments induced abnormal startle behavior following a tap stimulus. However, the MES-AuNPs exposed group also exhibited abnormal adult behavior in the light and had a lower survivorship into adulthood. This study demonstrates that acute, developmental exposure to 1.5 nm MES- and TMAT-AuNPs, two NPs differing only in the functional group, affects larval behavior, with behavioral effects persisting into adulthood.