Although in vivo studies have been modeled using higher mammal systems, the lower vertebrate zebrafish (Danio rerio) has gained tremendous attention as a model system. Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) attract the interest of scientists due to their promising potential applications in medicine and targeted drug delivery. The purpose to use GNPs in vivo is that gold in bulk form is nontoxic and apply the positive potentials of nanoparticles. Bulk gold is century-long accepted as a safeto- use metal. Gold in its nanoform has distinct chemical and physical properties and the large amount of surface atoms make GNPs reactive. Moreover, GNPs can potentially access many cellular or subcellular structures, which are unreachable by the larger compound and may induce toxic effects. This paper addresses effects of spherical GNPs of average size 15 nm on reproductive organs after subacute exposure in adult male and female zebrafish. Gold nanoparticles were chemically synthesized and characterized by transmission electron microscope.
The primary objective of this study was to determine if exposure to GNPs altered cellular morphology of gonads. The adult fish of both sexes were administered orally with these GNPs at a dose of 20 µg/gm. At the end of the study, quantification of gold content was estimated using two different tools: inductive coupled plasmon-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) and inductive coupled plasmon-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). No gold metal accumulation was detected in treated group of male and female zebrafish at subacute exposures on estimation through ICP-AES. On analysis using ICP-MS, 0.44 ± 0.18 µg/gm organ weight was detected in ovaries and 4.6 ± 3.20 µg/gm organ weight was detected in testes of treated groups. However, the pattern of accumulation was found to be nonsignificant when compared with the control group at a p-value >0.05. Histopathological analysis of reproductive organs showed no significant changes in cellular morphology of testes and ovaries.

Keywords: Germ cells, Gold nanoparticles, Reproductive toxicity, Zebrafish.

How to cite this article: Dayal N, Thakur M, Patil P, Swain N, Joshi DS. Effects of Subacute Exposure to Gold Nanoparticles on Germ Cells of Zebrafish (Danio rerio): An in vivo Study. MGM J Med Sci 2016;3(1):1-6.

Source of support: MGMIHS

Conflict of interest: None