Toxicologic effects of gold nanoparticles in vivo by different administration routes
Xiao-Dong Zhang*, Hong-Ying Wu*, Di Wu, Yue-Ying Wang, Jian-Hui Chang, Zhi-Bin Zhai, Ai-Min Meng, Pei-Xun Liu, Liang-An Zhang, Fei-Yue Fan
Institute of Radiation Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, and Tianjin Key Laboratory of Molecular Nuclear Medicine, Tianjin, People’s Republic of China *The authors contributed equally to this work
Abstract: Gold nanoparticles have potential applications in biomedicine, but one of the important concerns is about their safety. Most toxicology data are derived from in vitro studies and may not reflect in vivo responses. Here, an animal toxicity study of 13.5 nm gold nanoparticles in mice is presented. Animal survival, weight, hematology, morphology, and organ index are characterized at different concentrations (137.5–2200 µg/kg) over 14–28 days. The results show that low concentrations of gold nanoparticles do not cause an obvious decrease in body weight or appreciable toxicity, even after their breakdown in vivo. High concentrations of gold nanoparticles induced decreases in body weight, red blood cells, and hematocrit. It was also found that gold nanoparticles administered orally caused significant decreases in body weight, spleen index, and red blood cells. Of the three administration routes, the oral and intraperitoneal routes showed the highest toxicity, and the tail vein injection showed the lowest toxicity. Combining the results of all of these studies, we suggest that targeted gold nanopartices by tail vein injection may be suitable for enhancement of radiotherapy, photothermal therapy, and related medical diagnostic procedures.
Keywords: gold nanoparticles, in vivo, toxicity
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