Comparative analysis of the toxicity of gold nanoparticles in zebrafish

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1161
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Issue number8
Early online date15 Apr 2018
StatePublished - Aug 2018


The use of nanoparticles - particles that range in size from 1 to 100 nanometres - has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, bringing with it a variety of potential toxic effects. Zebrafish embryos were exposed during the 3-day post-fertilisation period to gold nanospheres (GSSs), gold nanorods (GNRs), gold nanorods coated with polystyrene-sulfate (PSS-GNRs), and gold nanorods coated with both polystyrene-sulfate and polyallamine hydrochloride (PAH/PSS-GNRs). All nanorods were stabilised with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB). GNSs were the least toxic of the nanoparticles studied, with exposure resulting in no significant changes in mortality, hatching or heart rate. Exposure to GNRs and PSS-GNRs resulted in significant increases in mortality and significant decreases in hatching and heart rate. Treatment with GNRs caused significant changes in the expression of a variety of oxidative stress genes. The toxic effects of GNRs were ameliorated by coating them with polystyrene-sulfate and, to a more marked extent, with a double coating of polystyrene-sulfate and polyallamine hydrochloride.


  • nanoparticles; nanospheres; nanorods; zebrafish; toxicity