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Differential lethal and sublethal effects in embryonic zebrafish exposed to different sizes of silver nanoparticles

Liu, Xiaobo, Dumitrescu, Eduard, Kumar, Ajeet, Austin, Daniel, Goia, Dan, Wallace, Kenneth N., Andreescu, Silvana
Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 627-634
Danio rerio, cations, death, intestines, mortality, nanosilver, nitric oxide, salts, silver, skeletal muscle, sublethal effects
Various parameters can influence the toxic response to silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), including the size and surface properties, as well as the exposure environment and the biological site of action. Herein, we assess the intestinal toxicity of three different sizes (10, 40, and 100 nm) of Ag NPs in embryonic zebrafish, and describe the relationship between the properties and behavior of Ag NPs in the exposure medium, and induction of lethal and sublethal effects. We find that the composition of the medium and the size contribute to differential NPs agglomeration, release of Ag ions, and subsequent effects during exposure. The exposure medium causes dramatic reduction in silver dissolution due to the presence of salts and divalent cations, which limits the lethal potential of silver ions. Lethality is observed primarily for embryos exposed to medium sized Ag NPs (40 nm), but not to the supernatant originated from particles, which suggests that the exposure to particulate silver is the main cause of mortality. On the other hand, the exposure to 10 nm and 100 nm NPs, as well as Ag ions, only causes sublethal developmental defects in skeletal muscles and intestine, and induces a nitric oxide imbalance.