Comparison of Dissolved Nickel and Nickel Nanoparticles Toxicity in Larval Zebrafish in Terms of Gene Expression and DNA Damage

Boran H., Saffak S.

ARCHIVES OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND TOXICOLOGY, vol.74, no.1, pp.193-202, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


With the use of nanoparticles (NPs) in many industrial activities and consumer products, it is important to evaluate the effects of their release into the environment. Metal NPs (e.g., Ni-NPs or Cu-NPs) can release metal ions that are toxic to aquatic organisms; however, whether the toxicity is from metal ions rather than unique "nano-scale" effects of the NPs is unresolved. This research investigated Ni-NP toxicity in zebrafish Danio rerio larvae to clarify whether toxic effects are attributable to release of Ni ions. First, the acute (96-h lethal) toxicity of Ni-NPs was determined in comparison to aqueous Ni in fish exposed to Ni(II) by water-soluble NiCl2. Subsequently, sublethal experiments with Ni-NPs and Ni(II) were conducted to assess changes in expression of stress-related genes (mt2, rad51, and p53) by quantitative PCR. Acute toxicity of Ni in fish exposed to Ni(II) was higher (96-h LC50 = 32.6 mg/L) than for fish exposed to Ni-NPs (96-h LC50 = 122.2 mg/L). Also, DNA strand breaks were higher in Ni(II)- than Ni-NPs-exposed larvae. Induction of stress-related genes in larvae was complex and was not directly related to Ni-NPs and Ni(II) concentration, although there was a significant induction in the mt2 and p53 gene of the larvae exposed to Ni-NPs and Ni(II) relative to controls. Results indicated that while Ni-NPs induced gene expression (presumably by the release of Ni ions), the differences in concentration relationships of gene expression between Ni-NPs and Ni(II) suggest that factors in addition to the release of Ni ions from Ni-NPs influence acute toxicity of Ni-NPs.