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Translocation and neurotoxicity of CdTe quantum dots in RMEs motor neurons in nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Yunli Zhao, Xiong Wang, Qiuli Wu, Yiping Li, Dayong Wang
Journal of hazardous materials 2015 v.283 pp. 480-489
Caenorhabditis elegans, animals, bioavailability, cadmium, coatings, foraging, gene overexpression, genes, intestines, motor neurons, neurotoxicity, oxidation, oxidative stress, quantum dots, risk, zinc sulfide
We employed Caenorhabditis elegans assay system to investigate in vivo neurotoxicity of CdTe quantum dots (QDs) on RMEs motor neurons, which are involved in controlling foraging behavior, and the underlying mechanism of such neurotoxicity. After prolonged exposure to 0.1–1μg/L of CdTe QDs, abnormal foraging behavior and deficits in development of RMEs motor neurons were observed. The observed neurotoxicity from CdTe QDs on RMEs motor neurons might be not due to released Cd2+. Overexpression of genes encoding Mn-SODs or unc-30 gene controlling cell identity of RMEs neurons prevented neurotoxic effects of CdTe QDs on RMEs motor neurons, suggesting the crucial roles of oxidative stress and cell identity in regulating CdTe QDs neurotoxicity. In nematodes, CdTe QDs could be translocated through intestinal barrier and be deposited in RMEs motor neurons. In contrast, CdTe@ZnS QDs could not be translocated into RMEs motor neurons and therefore, could only moderately accumulated in intestinal cells, suggesting that ZnS coating might reduce neurotoxicity of CdTe QDs on RMEs motor neurons. Therefore, the combinational effects of oxidative stress, cell identity, and bioavailability may contribute greatly to the mechanism of CdTe QDs neurotoxicity on RMEs motor neurons. Our results provide insights into understanding the potential risks of CdTe QDs on the development and function of nervous systems in animals.