In Vivo Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on Development, Behavior, and Mitochondrial Function are Altered by Genetic Defects in Mitochondrial Dynamics.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are extensively used in consumer products and biomedical applications, thus guaranteeing both environmental and human exposures. Despite extensive research addressing AgNP safety, there are still major knowledge gaps regarding AgNP toxicity mechanisms, particularly in whole organisms. Mitochondrial dysfunction is frequently described as an important cytotoxicity mechanism for AgNPs; however, it is still unclear if mitochondria are the direct targets of AgNPs. To test this, we exposed the nematodeCaenorhabditis elegans to sublethal concentrations of AgNPs and assessed specific mitochondrial parameters as well as organismal-level endpoints that are highly reliant on mitochondrial function, such as development and chemotaxis behavior. All AgNPs tested significantly delayed nematode development, disrupted mitochondrial bioenergetics, and blocked chemotaxis. However, silver was not preferentially accumulated in mitochondria, indicating that these effects are likely not due to direct mitochondria-AgNP interactions. Mutant nematodes with deficiencies in mitochondrial dynamics displayed both greater and decreased susceptibility to AgNPs compared to wild-type nematodes, which was dependent on the assay and AgNP type. Our study suggests that AgNPs indirectly promote mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to adverse outcomes at the organismal level, and reveals a role of gene-environment interactions in the susceptibility to AgNPs. Finally, we propose a novel hypothetical adverse outcome pathway for AgNP effects to guide future research.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mello, DF; Maurer, LL; Ryde, IT; Songr, DH; Marinakos, SM; Jiang, C; Wiesner, MR; Hsu-Kim, H; Meyer, JN

Published Date

  • January 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 1113 - 1124

PubMed ID

  • 35038872

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8802983

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-5851

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0013-936X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/acs.est.1c05915


  • eng