Interspecies comparisons on the uptake and toxicity of silver and cerium dioxide nanoparticles

Birgit K. Gaiser, Teresa F. Fernandes, Mark A. Jepson, Jamie R. Lead, Charles R. Tyler, Mohammed Baalousha, Anamika Biswas, Graham J. Britton, Paula A. Cole, Blair D. Johnston, Yon Ju-Nam, Philipp Rosenkranz, Tessa M. Scown, Vicki Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


An increasing number and quantity of manufactured nanoparticles are entering the environment as the diversity of their applications increases, and this will lead to the exposure of both humans and wildlife. However, little is known regarding their potential health effects. We compared the potential biological effects of silver (Ag; nominally 35 and 600-1,600nm) and cerium dioxide (CeO 2; nominally <25nm and 1-5μm) particles in a range of cell (human hepatocyte and intestinal and fish hepatocyte) and animal (Daphnia magna, Cyprinus carpio) models to assess possible commonalities in toxicity across taxa. A variety of analytical techniques were employed to characterize the particles and investigate their biological uptake. Silver particles were more toxic than CeO 2 in all test systems, and an equivalent mass dose of Ag nanoparticles was more toxic than larger micro-sized material. Cellular uptake of all materials tested was shown in C3A hepatocytes and Caco-2 intestinal cells, and for Ag, into the intestine, liver, gallbladder, and gills of carp exposed via the water. The commonalities in toxicity of these particle types across diverse biological systems suggest that cross-species extrapolations may be possible for metal nanoparticle test development in the future. Our findings also suggest transport of particles through the gastrointestinal barrier, which is likely to be an important uptake route when assessing particle risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic toxicology
  • In vitro toxicology
  • Metal toxicity
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotoxicology


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