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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 8828-8848; doi:10.3390/ijerph120808828

Do Nanoparticle Physico-Chemical Properties and Developmental Exposure Window Influence Nano ZnO Embryotoxicity in Xenopus laevis?

1
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences, POLARIS Research Centre, University of Milano Bicocca, 1 Piazza della Scienza, 20126 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, 26 via Celoria, 20133 Milan, Italy
3
Tec Star S.r.l., Viale Europa, 40, 41011 Campogalliano, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mónica Amorim
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 17 July 2015 / Accepted: 21 July 2015 / Published: 28 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Fate and Effect of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials)
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Abstract

The growing global production of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) suggests a realistic increase in the environmental exposure to such a nanomaterial, making the knowledge of its biological reactivity and its safe-by-design synthesis mandatory. In this study, the embryotoxicity of ZnONPs (1–100 mg/L) specifically synthesized for industrial purposes with different sizes, shapes (round, rod) and surface coatings (PEG, PVP) was tested using the frog embryo teratogenesis assay-Xenopus (FETAX) to identify potential target tissues and the most sensitive developmental stages. The ZnONPs did not cause embryolethality, but induced a high incidence of malformations, in particular misfolded gut and abdominal edema. Smaller, round NPs were more effective than the bigger, rod ones, and PEGylation determined a reduction in embryotoxicity. Ingestion appeared to be the most relevant exposure route. Only the embryos exposed from the stomodeum opening showed anatomical and histological lesions to the intestine, mainly referable to a swelling of paracellular spaces among enterocytes. In conclusion, ZnONPs differing in shape and surface coating displayed similar toxicity in X. laevis embryos and shared the same target organ. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude that the physico-chemical characteristics may influence the severity of such effects. Further research efforts are mandatory to ensure the synthesis of safer nano-ZnO-containing products. View Full-Text
Keywords: zinc oxide; nanoparticles, Xenopus laevis; FETAX; surface coating; nanotoxicology zinc oxide; nanoparticles, Xenopus laevis; FETAX; surface coating; nanotoxicology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bonfanti, P.; Moschini, E.; Saibene, M.; Bacchetta, R.; Rettighieri, L.; Calabri, L.; Colombo, A.; Mantecca, P. Do Nanoparticle Physico-Chemical Properties and Developmental Exposure Window Influence Nano ZnO Embryotoxicity in Xenopus laevis? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 8828-8848.

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