Low toxicity and accumulation of zinc oxide nanoparticles in mice after 270-day consecutive dietary supplementation†
The toxicity and accumulation of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs), ZnO microparticles (ZnO-MPs) and Zn ions were evaluated after long-term feeding with zinc-replenished food (1600 mg zinc equivalent per kg food) for 270 consecutive days. It was difficult for ZnO-NPs, ZnO-MPs and Zn ions were difficult to pass through the intestine barrier, and most of them were excreted mainly through feces. The distribution results showed that there was no noticeable difference among the distribution profiles of ZnO-NPs, ZnO-MPs and Zn ions in mice. Zn accumulated only in the digestive tract organs after the exposure to all three samples. However, the biomedical parameters and pathological investigations showed liver lesions induced by ZnO-MPs, but fewer by ZnO-NPs or Zn ions. The reason for the remarkably low in vivo toxicity of ZnO-NPs is discussed. Our findings suggest that ZnO-NPs are relatively biocompatible as the nutritional additive at the commonly used dose.