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The effect of ZnO nanoparticles on liver function in rats

Authors Tang H-Q, Xu M, Rong Q, Jin R-W, Liu Qi-Ji, Li Y

Received 23 March 2016

Accepted for publication 19 June 2016

Published 31 August 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 4275—4285

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S109031

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


Hua-Qiao Tang, Min Xu, Qian Rong, Ru-Wen Jin, Qi-Ji Liu, Ying-Lun Li

Department of Pharmacy, Sichuan Agricultural University, Sichuan, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Zinc oxide (ZnO) is widely incorporated as a food additive in animal diets. In order to optimize the beneficial effects of ZnO and minimize any resultant environmental pollution, ZnO nanoparticles are often used for delivery of the zinc. However, the possible toxic effects of ZnO nanoparticles, including effects on cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes, have not been evaluated. In this study, we investigated the effect of ZnO nanoparticles, in doses used in animal feeds, on CYP450 enzymes, liver and intestinal enzymes, liver and kidney histopathology, and hematologic indices in rats. We found that liver and kidney injury occurred when the concentrations of ZnO nanoparticles in feed were 300–600 mg/kg. Also, liver mRNA expression for constitutive androstane receptor was suppressed and mRNA expression for pregnane X receptor was induced when feed containing ZnO nanoparticles was given at a concentration of 600 mg/kg. Although the expression of mRNA for CYP 2C11 and 3A2 enzymes was induced by ZnO nanoparticles, the activities of CYP 2C11 and 3A2 were suppressed. While liver CYP 1A2 mRNA expression was suppressed, CYP 1A2 activity remained unchanged at all ZnO nanoparticle doses. Therefore, it has been concluded that ZnO nanoparticles, in the doses customarily added to animal feed, changed the indices of hematology and blood chemistry, altered the expression and activity of hepatic CYP enzymes, and induced pathological changes in liver and kidney tissues of rats. These findings suggest that greater attention needs to be paid to the toxic effects of ZnO nanoparticles in animal feed, with the possibility that the doses of ZnO should be reduced.

Keywords: ZnO nanoparticles, liver injury, CYP450 enzymes

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