Differential Toxicity of Carbon Nanomaterials in Drosophila: Larval Dietary Uptake Is Benign, but Adult Exposure Causes Locomotor Impairment and Mortality

Department of Chemistry, Division of Engineering, Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 08/2009; 43(16):6357-63. DOI: 10.1021/es901079z
Source: PubMed


Rapid growth in nanomaterial manufacturing is raising concerns about potential adverse effects on the environment. Nanoparticle contact with intact organisms in the wild may lead to different biological responses than those observed in laboratory cell-based toxicity assays. In nature, the scale and chemistry of nanoparticles coupled with the surface properties, texture, and behaviors of the organisms will influence biologically significant exposure and ultimate toxicity. We used larval and adult Drosophila melanogaster to study the effects of carbon nanomaterial exposure under several different scenarios. Dietary uptake of fullerene C60, carbon black (CB), or single-walled or multiwalled nanotubes (SWNTs, MWNTs) delivered through the food to the larval stage had no detectable effect on egg to adult survivorship, despite evidence that the nanomaterials are taken up and become sequestered in tissue. However, when these same nanocarbons were exposed in dry form to adults, some materials (CB, SWNTs) adhered extensively to fly surfaces, overwhelmed natural grooming mechanisms, and led to impaired locomotor function and mortality. Others (C60, MWNT arrays) adhered weakly, could be removed by grooming, and did not reduce locomotor function or survivorship. Evidence is presented that these differences are primarily due to differences in nanomaterial superstructure, or aggregation state, and that the combination of adhesion and grooming can lead to active fly borne nanoparticle transport.

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    • "However, in vivo studies could be considered much more interesting in terms of risk evaluation than in vitro approaches with mammal or human cells since they do not completely simulate the complex cell–cell, cell–matrix interactions and hormonal effects found in the in vivo systems (Chibber et al., 2013). In this scenario, recent studies have demonstrated that the fruit fly D. melanogaster offers several benefits as an in vivo model for the study of dietary intake and tissue distribution of nano-carbon–based materials (Leeuw et al., 2007; Liu et al., 2009), the study of the potential toxicity of metal and metal oxide-based NPs on reproduction and development (Gorth et al., 2011; Philbrook et al., 2011; Pompa et al., 2011; Posgai et al., 2011) and the study of genotoxicity after exposure to silver, cobalt, gold, titanium, zirconium and aluminium NPs (Ahamed et al., 2010; Demir et al., 2011, 2013; Sabella et al., 2011; Vales et al., 2012; Vecchio et al., 2012). The aforementioned results would reinforce the usefulness of the Drosophila model as a first-tier in vivo test for genotoxicity testing of NMs. "
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