Uptake and Effects of Nanoparticles in Fish
Scown, Tessa M.
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing industry of global economic importance, with new technologies exploiting the novel characteristics of materials manufactured at the nanoscale being developed for use within the biomedical, electronic, energy production and environmental sectors. The unusual properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) that make them useful in such applications have led to concerns regarding their potential impact on the environment. The aquatic environment is particularly at risk of exposure to ENPs, yet, there is currently little known about their behaviour in aquatic systems, their capacity to be taken up by aquatic organisms or their potential toxic effects. The studies that were conducted during this work sought to investigate the ecotoxicology of a range of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles using fish as a vertebrate model. In order to gain a better understanding of the uptake and effects of ENMs in fish, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to nanoparticulate (34 nm) and bulk (>100 nm) titanium dioxide particles via the water column (500 and 5000 µg L-1), and to titanium dioxide nanoparticles via the diet (0.1 and 1 mg g-1 food) and via intravenous injection (1.3 mg kg-1 body weight). Uptake of titanium dioxide into the tissues of trout after waterborne and dietary exposure was found to be very low, suggesting limited bioavailability of the nanoparticles to the fish, although small amounts of uptake of titanium dioxide across the gill epithelial membrane were observed using coherent anti-stokes Raman scattering. Intravenously injected titanium dioxide accumulated and was retained in the kidneys for up to 21 days, but no adverse effect on kidney function was detected. Silver nanoparticles are already in widespread use in a variety of consumer products such as wound dressings, food containers, sock fabrics and paints, principally for their antimicrobial activity. Despite its growing commercialisation, there is little known about the environmental effects of the use of nanoparticulate silver in these products. In order to investigate these potential effects, rainbow trout were also exposed to 10 nm, 35 nm and bulk (0.6-1.6 µm) silver particles via the water column at concentration of 10 and 100 µg L-1. Uptake of silver in the gills and liver of trout occurred, with smaller nanoparticles showing a greater propensity for association with gill tissue, but with no significant differences in uptake between particles of different sizes in the liver. No increases in lipid peroxidation were detected in gills, liver or blood plasma of trout, however, expression of cyp1a2 was significantly up-regulated in exposures to 10 nm silver particles in the gill, suggesting an increase in oxidative metabolism. In an attempt to develop an effective high through-put in vitro screening assay for ENMs, the suitability of isolated rainbow trout primary hepatocytes was examined as a potential model for in vitro screening of a range of toxicological endpoints in response to nanoparticles and for studying uptake of nanoparticles into cells. The hepatocytes retained a good level of functionality after culturing as evidenced by vitellogenin production in response to the synthetic oestrogen, 17β-oestradiol. The cultured hepatocytes, however, showed limited responses on exposure to titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, cerium oxide and silver nanoparticles for lipid peroxidation and glutathione-s-transferase activity assays. Furthermore, the hepatocytes were unresponsive to the induction of these biological responses in the positive controls, suggesting they are not a good model for investigating the potential toxic effects of ENMs in terms of these endpoints. Uptake of the nanoparticles into the cells, however, was demonstrated by coherent anti-stokes Raman spectroscopy, indicating that this in vitro assay may provide a useful model for studying uptake of ENPs into cells. The studies conducted in this thesis contribute the science base regarding the bioavailability of ENPs in aquatic media as well as highlighting the importance of characterisation of ENPs in understanding their behaviour, uptake and effects in aquatic systems and in fish.
NERC and The Environment Agency
Scown, T.M.; van Aerle, R.; Johnston, B.D.; Cumberland, S.; Lead, J.R.; Owen, R.; Tyler, C.R. (2009) High doses of intravenously administered titanium dioxide nanoparticles accumulate in the kidneys of rainbow trout but with no observable impairment of renal function. Toxicological Sciences 109(2): 372-380.
Tyler, Charles R.
Van Aerle, Ronny
PhD in Biological Sciences