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Potential adverse effects of nanoparticles on the reproductive system

Authors Wang R, Song B, Wu J, Zhang Y, Chen A, Shao LQ

Received 11 April 2018

Accepted for publication 27 September 2018

Published 11 December 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 8487—8506

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S170723

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


Ruolan Wang,1 Bin Song,2 Junrong Wu,1 Yanli Zhang,1 Aijie Chen,1 Longquan Shao1,3

1Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China; 2Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital, Guiyang 550002, China; 3Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Construction and Detection in Tissue Engineering, Guangzhou 510515, China

Abstract: With the vigorous development of nanometer-sized materials, nanoproducts are becoming widely used in all aspects of life. In medicine, nanoparticles (NPs) can be used as nanoscopic drug carriers and for nanoimaging technologies. Thus, substantial attention has been paid to the potential risks of NPs. Previous studies have shown that numerous types of NPs are able to pass certain biological barriers and exert toxic effects on crucial organs, such as the brain, liver, and kidney. Only recently, attention has been directed toward the reproductive toxicity of nanomaterials. NPs can pass through the blood–testis barrier, placental barrier, and epithelial barrier, which protect reproductive tissues, and then accumulate in reproductive organs. NP accumulation damages organs (testis, epididymis, ovary, and uterus) by destroying Sertoli cells, Leydig cells, and germ cells, causing reproductive organ dysfunction that adversely affects sperm quality, quantity, morphology, and motility or reduces the number of mature oocytes and disrupts primary and secondary follicular development. In addition, NPs can disrupt the levels of secreted hormones, causing changes in sexual behavior. However, the current review primarily examines toxicological phenomena. The molecular mechanisms involved in NP toxicity to the reproductive system are not fully understood, but possible mechanisms include oxidative stress, apoptosis, inflammation, and genotoxicity. Previous studies have shown that NPs can increase inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis and induce ROS, causing damage at the molecular and genetic levels which results in cytotoxicity. This review provides an understanding of the applications and toxicological effects of NPs on the reproductive system.

Keywords: nanoparticles, toxic, reproductive, sperm, ovary, ROS

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