Gold nanorods (GNRs) are among the most commonly used nanomaterials. However, thus far, little is known about their harmful effects on male reproduction. Studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that GNRs could decrease glycine synthesis, membrane permeability, mitochondrial membrane potential and disrupt blood-testis barrier factors in TM-4 Sertoli cells. Imprinted genes play important roles in male reproduction and have been identified as susceptible loci to environmental insults by chemicals because they are functionally haploid. In this original study, we investigated the extent to which imprinted genes become deregulated in TM-4 Sertoli cells when treated with low dose of GNRs. The expression levels of 44 imprinted genes were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR in TM-4 Sertoli cells after a low dose of (10 nM) GNRs treatment for 24 h. We found significantly diminished expression of Kcnq1
, while Plagl1
was significantly overexpressed. Additionally, four (Kcnq1
) of 10 abnormally expressed imprinted genes were found to be located on chromosome 7. However, no significant difference of imprinted miRNA genes was observed between the GNRs treated group and controls. Our study suggested that aberrant expression of imprinted genes might be an underlying mechanism for the GNRs-induced reproductive toxicity in TM-4 Sertoli cells.
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