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Toxicity evaluation of boron nitride nanospheres and water-soluble boron nitride in Caenorhabditis elegans

Authors Wang N, Wang H, Tang C, Lei S, Shen W, Wang C, Wang G, Wang Z, Wang L

Received 22 December 2016

Accepted for publication 2 May 2017

Published 18 August 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 5941—5957


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Ning Wang,1 Hui Wang,2 Chengchun Tang,3 Shijun Lei,1 Wanqing Shen,1 Cong Wang,1 Guobin Wang,4 Zheng Wang,1,4 Lin Wang1,5

1Research Center for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Union Hospital, 2Department of Medical Genetics, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 3Boron Nitride Research Center, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin, 4Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, 5Department of Clinical Laboratory, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Abstract: Boron nitride (BN) nanomaterials have been increasingly explored for potential biological applications. However, their toxicity remains poorly understood. Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a whole-animal model for toxicity analysis of two representative types of BN nanomaterials – BN nanospheres (BNNSs) and highly water-soluble BN nanomaterial (named BN-800-2) – we found that BNNSs overall toxicity was less than soluble BN-800-2 with irregular shapes. The concentration thresholds for BNNSs and BN-800-2 were 100 µg·mL-1 and 10 µg·mL-1, respectively. Above this concentration, both delayed growth, decreased life span, reduced progeny, retarded locomotion behavior, and changed the expression of phenotype-related genes to various extents. BNNSs and BN-800-2 increased oxidative stress levels in C. elegans by promoting reactive oxygen species production. Our results further showed that oxidative stress response and MAPK signaling-related genes, such as GAS1, SOD2, SOD3, MEK1, and PMK1, might be key factors for reactive oxygen species production and toxic responses to BNNSs and BN-800-2 exposure. Together, our results suggest that when concentrations are lower than 10 µg·mL-1, BNNSs are more biocompatible than BN-800-2 and are potentially biocompatible material.

Keywords: boron nitride nanomaterials, Caenorhabditis elegans, nanotoxicology, reactive oxygen species, toxicity

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