Toxic Effects of Silica Nanoparticles on Zebrafish Embryos and Larvae

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Silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) have been widely used in biomedical and biotechnological applications. Environmental exposure to nanomaterials is inevitable as they become part of our daily life. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the possible toxic effects of SiNPs exposure. In this study, zebrafish embryos were treated with SiNPs (25, 50, 100, 200 µg/mL) during 4-96 hours post fertilization (hpf). Mortality, hatching rate, malformation and whole-embryo cellular death were detected. We also measured the larval behavior to analyze whether SiNPs had adverse effects on larvae locomotor activity. The results showed that as the exposure dosages increasing, the hatching rate of zebrafish embryos was decreased while the mortality and cell death were increased. Exposure to SiNPs caused embryonic malformations, including pericardial edema, yolk sac edema, tail and head malformation. The larval behavior testing showed that the total swimming distance was decreased in a dose-dependent manner. The lower dose (25 and 50 µg/mL SiNPs) produced substantial hyperactivity while the higher doses (100 and 200 µg/mL SiNPs) elicited remarkably hypoactivity in dark periods. In summary, our data indicated that SiNPs caused embryonic developmental toxicity, resulted in persistent effects on larval behavior.




Duan, J., Yu, Y., Shi, H., Tian, L., Guo, C., Huang, P., … Sun, Z. (2013). Toxic Effects of Silica Nanoparticles on Zebrafish Embryos and Larvae. PLoS ONE, 8(9).

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