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Acute toxicity of quantum dots on late pregnancy mice: Effects of nanoscale size and surface coating

Zhang, Wanyi, Yang, Lin, Kuang, Huijuan, Yang, Pengfei, Aguilar, Zoraida P., Wang, Andrew, Fu, Fen, Xu, Hengyi
Journal of hazardous materials 2016 v.318 pp. 61-69
abnormal development, acute toxicity, adverse effects, apoptosis, cadmium, cadmium chloride, coatings, fetus, genes, mice, oxidative stress, placenta, pregnancy outcome, protective effect, quantum dots, tissues, uterus, zinc sulfide
In this study, the effects of cadmium containing QDs (such as CdSe/ZnS and CdSe QDs) and bulk CdCl2 in pregnant mice, their fetuses, and the pregnancy outcomes were investigated. It was shown that although the QDs and bulk CdCl2 were effectively blocked by the placental barrier, the damage on the placenta caused by CdSe QDs still led to fetus malformation, while the mice in CdSe/ZnS QDs treatment group exhibited slightly hampered growth but showed no significant abnormalities. Moreover, the Cd contents in the placenta and the uterus of CdSe QDs and CdSe/ZnS QDs treatment groups showed significantly higher than the CdCl2 treated group which indicated that the nanoscale size of the QDs allowed relative ease of entry into the gestation tissues. In addition, the CdSe QDs more effectively altered the expression levels of susceptive genes related to cell apoptosis, dysplasia, metal transport, cryptorrhea, and oxidative stress, etc. These findings suggested that the nanoscale size of the QDs were probably more important than the free Cd in inducing toxicity. Furthermore, the results indicated that the outer surface shell coating played a protective role in the adverse effects of QDs on late pregnancy mice.