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Differential nanoreprotoxicity of silver nanoparticles in male somatic cells and spermatogonial stem cells

Authors Zhang X, Choi YJ, Han JW, Kim E, Park JH, Gurunathan S, Kim J

Received 19 October 2014

Accepted for publication 28 November 2014

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1335—1357


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Carlos Rinaldi

Xi-Feng Zhang,* Yun-Jung Choi,* Jae Woong Han, Eunsu Kim, Jung Hyun Park, Sangiliyandi Gurunathan, Jin-Hoi Kim

Department of Animal Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) possess unique physical, chemical, and biological properties. AgNPs have been increasingly used as anticancer, antiangiogenic, and antibacterial agents for the treatment of bacterial infections in open wounds as well as in ointments, bandages, and wound dressings. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of two different sizes of AgNPs (10 nm and 20 nm) in male somatic Leydig (TM3) and Sertoli (TM4) cells and spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs).
Methods: Here, we demonstrate a green and simple method for the synthesis of AgNPs using Bacillus cereus culture supernatants. The synthesized AgNPs were characterized using ultraviolet and visible absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The toxicity of the synthesized AgNPs was evaluated by the effects on cell viability, metabolic activity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and expression of genes encoding steroidogenic and tight junction proteins.
Results: AgNPs inhibited the viability and proliferation of TM3 and TM4 cells in a dose- and size-dependent manner by damaging cell membranes and inducing the generation of reactive oxygen species, which in turn affected SSC growth on TM3 and TM4 as feeder cells. Small AgNPs (10 nm) were more cytotoxic than medium-sized nanoparticles (20 nm). TEM revealed the presence of AgNPs in the cell cytoplasm and nucleus, and detected mitochondrial damage and enhanced formation of autosomes and autolysosomes in the AgNP-treated cells. Flow cytometry analysis using Annexin V/propidium iodide staining showed massive cell death by apoptosis or necrosis. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and western blot analyses indicated that in TM3 and TM4 cells, AgNPs activated the p53, p38, and pErk1/2 signaling pathways and significantly downregulated the expression of genes related to testosterone synthesis (TM3) and tight junctions (TM4). Furthermore, the exposure of TM3 and TM4 cells to AgNPs inhibited proliferation and self-renewal of SSCs.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that AgNPs exhibit size-dependent nanoreprotoxicity in male somatic cells and SSCs, strongly suggesting that applications of AgNPs in commercial products must be carefully evaluated. Further studies of AgNPs-induced nanoreprotoxicity in animal models are required.

Keywords: Sertoli cells, Leydig cells, apoptosis, oxidative stress, tight junction proteins, apoptosis

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