Silver exposure in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio): persistent effects on larval behavior and survival.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The increased use of silver nanoparticles in consumer and medical products has led to elevated human and environmental exposures. Silver nanoparticles act as antibacterial/antifungal agents by releasing Ag(+) and recent studies show that Ag(+) impairs neural cell replication and differentiation in culture, suggesting that in vivo exposures could compromise neurodevelopment. To determine whether Ag(+) impairs development in vivo, we examined the effects of exposure on survival, morphological, and behavioral parameters in zebrafish embryos and larvae. We exposed zebrafish from 0 to 5days post-fertilization to concentrations of Ag(+) ranging from 10nM to 100microM in order to assess effects on survival and early embryonic development. We then tested whether concentrations below the threshold for dysmorphology altered larval behavior and subsequent survival. Ag(+) concentrations >or=3microM significantly reduced embryonic survival, whereas 1microM delayed hatching with no effect on survival. Reducing the concentration to as low as 0.1microM delayed the inflation of the swim bladder without causing gross dysmorphology or affecting hatching. At this concentration, swimming activity was impaired, an effect that persisted past the point where swim bladder inflation became normal; in contrast, general motor function was unaffected. The early behavioral impairment was then predictive of subsequent decreases in survival. Ag(+) is a developmental toxicant at concentrations only slightly above allowable levels. At low concentrations, Ag(+) acts as a neurobehavioral toxicant even in the absence of dysmorphology.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Powers, CM; Yen, J; Linney, EA; Seidler, FJ; Slotkin, TA

Published Date

  • May 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 391 - 397

PubMed ID

  • 20116428

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2854181

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-9738

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States