Investigation of Acute Nanoparticulate Aluminum Toxicity in Zebrafish

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


In freshwater fish, aluminum is a well-recognized gill toxicant, although responses are influenced by pH. Aluminum nanomaterials are being used in diverse applications that are likely to lead to environmental release and exposure. However, it is unclear if the effects of nanoparticulate aluminum are similar to those of other forms of aluminum or require special consideration. To examine the acute toxicological effects of exposure to aluminum nanoparticle (Al-NP)s, adult female zebrafish were exposed to either Al-NPs or aluminum chloride for up to 48 hours in moderately hard fresh water. Al-NPs introduced into test water rapidly aggregated and up to 80% sedimented from the water column during exposures. No mortality was caused by concentrations of Al-NP up to 12.5 mg/L. After exposure, tissue concentrations of aluminum, effects on gill morphology, Na+, K+ -ATPase (NKA) activity, and global gene expression patterns were examined. Exposure to both aluminum chloride and nanoparticulate aluminum resulted in a concentration dependent decrease in sodium potassium ATPase activity, although Al-NP exposure did not alter gill morphology as measured by filament widths. Decreased ATPase activity coincided with decreases in filamental NKA staining and mucous cell counts. Analysis of gill transcriptional responses demonstrated that exposure to 5 mg/L Al-NP only resulted in significant changes in expression of two genes, whereas aluminum chloride exposure significantly affected the expression of 105 genes. Taken together, these results indicate that nanoparticulate aluminum has little acute toxicity for zebrafish in moderately hard freshwater. (C) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 26: 541-551, 2011.

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Environmental Toxicology





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