Main content area

Harmful impact on presynaptic glutamate and GABA transport by carbon dots synthesized from sulfur-containing carbohydrate precursor

Borisova, Tatiana, Dekaliuk, Mariia, Pozdnyakova, Natalia, Pastukhov, Artem, Dudarenko, Marina, Borysov, Arsenii, Vari, Sandor G., Demchenko, Alexander P.
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.21 pp. 17688-17700
acridine orange, adverse effects, air pollutants, air pollution, biochemical pathways, brain, carbon quantum dots, dose response, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glutamic acid, human health, humans, nerve tissue, neurotoxicity, neurotransmitters, particulates, plasma membrane, radionuclides, rats, risk, sulfur, synaptic vesicles, thiourea, tritium
Carbon nanoparticles that may be potent air pollutants with adverse effects on human health often contain heteroatoms including sulfur. In order to study in detail their effects on different physiological and biochemical processes, artificially produced carbon dots (CDs) with well-controlled composition that allows fluorescence detection may be of great use. Having been prepared from different types of organic precursors, CDs expose different atoms at their surface suggesting a broad variation of functional groups. Recently, we demonstrated neurotoxic properties of CDs synthesized from the amino acid β-alanine, and it is of importance to analyze whether CDs obtained from different precursors and particularly those exposing sulfur atoms induce similar neurotoxic effects. This study focused on synthesis of CDs from the sulfur-containing precursor thiourea-CDs (TU-CDs) with a size less than 10 nm, their characterization, and neuroactivity assessment. Neuroactive properties of TU-CDs were analyzed based on their effects on the key characteristics of glutamatergic and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission in isolated rat brain nerve terminals. It was observed that TU-CDs (0.5–1.0 mg/ml) attenuated the initial velocity of Na⁺-dependent transporter-mediated uptake and accumulation of L-[¹⁴C]glutamate and [³H]GABA by nerve terminals in a dose-dependent manner and increased the ambient level of the neurotransmitters. Starting from the concentration of 0.2 mg/ml, TU-CDs evoked a gradual dose-dependent depolarization of the plasma membrane of nerve terminals measured with the cationic potentiometric dye rhodamine 6G. Within the concentration range of 0.1–0.5 mg/ml, TU-CDs caused an “unphysiological” step-like increase in fluorescence intensity of the рН-sensitive fluorescent dye acridine orange accumulated by synaptic vesicles. Therefore, despite different surface properties and fluorescent features of CDs prepared from different starting materials (thiourea and β-alanine), their principal neurotoxic effects are analogous but displayed at a different level of efficiency. Sulfur-containing TU-CDs exhibit lower effects (by ~30%) on glutamate and GABA transport in the nerve terminals in comparison with sulfur-free β-alanine CDs. Our results suggest considering that an uncontrolled presence of carbon-containing particulate matter in the human environment may pose a toxicity risk for the central nervous system.