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Environ Toxicol Pharmacol October 1, 2022; 95 103956.
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Amino-functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (NH2-MSiNPs) impair the embryonic development of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus.

Tacconi S , Augello S , Persano F , Sbarigia C , Carata E , Leporatti S , Fidaleo M , Dini L .

Nanoparticles have found use in a wide range of applications, mainly as carriers of active biomolecules. It is thus necessary to assess their toxicity for human health, as well as for the environment, on which there is still a gap of knowledge. In this work, sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, a widely used model for embryotoxicity and spermiotoxicity, has been used to assess potential detrimental effects of amino-functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (NH2-MSiNPs) on embryonic development. Specifically, gametes quality, embryogenesis morphological and timing alterations, and cellular stress markers, such as mitochondrial functionality, were assessed in presence of different concentrations of NH2-MSiNPs in filtered seawater (FSW). Furthermore, dorsal-ventral axis development and skeletogenesis were characterized by microscopy imaging and gene expression analysis. NH2-MSiNPs determined a strong reduction in the egg fertilization rate. Consequently, the presence of NH2-MSiNPs resulted detrimental in P. lividus embryonic development, with severe morphological alterations correlated with an increased embryos mortality. Finally, NH2-MSiNPs treatment was responsible for other toxic effects, such as reduced mitochondrial function and skeletogenesis alterations, according to the reduced mineralization sites in the endoskeleton formation and the related genes altered expression. Taken together, these results suggest the potential toxic effects of NH2-MSiNPs on the marine ecosystem, with consequences for the development and reproduction of its organisms. Despite their promising potential as carriers of biomolecules, it is pivotal to consider that their uncontrolled use may result harmful to the environment and, consequently, to living organisms.

PubMed ID: 35963553
Article link: Environ Toxicol Pharmacol