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Low-Dose Exposure of Silica Nanoparticles Induces Neurotoxicity via Neuroactive Ligand–Receptor Interaction Signaling Pathway in Zebrafish Embryos

Authors Wei J, Liu J, Liang S, Sun M, Duan J

Received 18 March 2020

Accepted for publication 30 May 2020

Published 19 June 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 4407—4415


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Jialiu Wei,1 Jianhui Liu,2 Shuang Liang,2 Mengqi Sun,2 Junchao Duan2

1Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Epidemiology & Department of Epidemiology, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Toxicology and Sanitary Chemistry, School of Public Health, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Junchao Duan
Department of Toxicology and Sanitary Chemistry, School of Public Health, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, People’s Republic of China

Objective: Silica nanoparticles (SiO2 NPs) have been extensively employed in biomedical field. SiO2 NPs are primarily designed to enter the circulatory system; however, little information is available on potential adverse effects of SiO2 NPs on the nervous system.
Methods: The neurotoxicity of SiO2 NPs at different concentrations (3, 6, 12 ng/nL) on zebrafish embryos was determined using immunofluorescence and microarray techniques, and subsequently confirmed by qRT-PCR.
Results: SiO2 NPs disrupt the axonal integrity and decrease the length of axons in Tg (NBT: EGFP) transgenic lines. The number of apoptotic cells in the brain and central nervous system of zebrafish embryos was increased in the presence of 12 ng/nL of SiO2 NPs, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Screening for changes in the expression of genes involved in the neuroactive ligand–receptor interaction pathway was performed by microarray and confirmed by qRT-PCR. These analyses demonstrated that SiO2 NPs markedly downregulated genes associated with neural function (grm6a, drd1b, chrnb3b, adrb2a, grin2ab, npffr2.1, npy8br, gabrd, chrma3, gabrg3, gria3a, grm1a, adra2b, and glra3).
Conclusion: The obtained results documented that SiO2 NPs can induce developmental neurotoxicity by affecting the neuroactive ligand–receptor interaction signaling pathway. This new evidence may help to clarify the mechanism of SiO2 NPs-mediated neurotoxicity.

Keywords: silica nanoparticles, neurotoxicity, neuroactive ligand–receptor interaction signaling pathway, zebrafish

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