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Issue 5, 2014
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Reprotoxicity of gold, silver, and gold–silver alloy nanoparticles on mammalian gametes

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Abstract

Metal and alloy nanoparticles are increasingly developed for biomedical applications, while a firm understanding of their biocompatibility is still missing. Various properties have been reported to influence the toxic potential of nanoparticles. This study aimed to assess the impact of nanoparticle size, surface ligands and chemical composition of gold, silver or gold–silver alloy nanoparticles on mammalian gametes. An in vitro assay for porcine gametes was developed, since these are delicate primary cells, for which well-established culture systems exist and functional parameters are defined. During coincubation with oocytes for 46 h neither any of the tested gold nanoparticles nor the gold–silver alloy particles with a silver molar fraction of up to 50% showed any impact on oocyte maturation. Alloy nanoparticles with 80% silver molar fraction and pure silver nanoparticles inhibited cumulus–oocyte maturation. Confocal microscopy revealed a selective uptake of gold nanoparticles by oocytes, while silver and alloy particles mainly accumulated in the cumulus cell layer surrounding the oocyte. Interestingly sperm vitality parameters (motility, membrane integrity and morphology) were not affected by any of the tested nanoparticles. Only sporadic association of nanoparticles with the sperm plasma membrane was found by transmission electron microscopy. In conclusion, mammalian oocytes were sensitive to silver containing nanoparticles. Likely, the delicate process of completing meiosis in maternal gametes features high vulnerability towards nanomaterial derived toxicity. The results imply that released Ag+-ions are responsible for the observed toxicity, but the compounding into an alloy seemed to alleviate the toxic effects to a certain extent.

Graphical abstract: Reprotoxicity of gold, silver, and gold–silver alloy nanoparticles on mammalian gametes

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Aug 2013, accepted on 02 Oct 2013 and first published on 07 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3AN01463K
Citation: Analyst, 2014,139, 931-942
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    Reprotoxicity of gold, silver, and gold–silver alloy nanoparticles on mammalian gametes

    D. Tiedemann, U. Taylor, C. Rehbock, J. Jakobi, S. Klein, W. A. Kues, S. Barcikowski and D. Rath, Analyst, 2014, 139, 931
    DOI: 10.1039/C3AN01463K

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