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Environ Pollut 2023 Feb 15;319:121015. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.121015.
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Bioaccumulation of functionalized polystyrene nanoplastics in sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus (Selenka, 1867) and their toxic effects on oxidative stress, energy metabolism and mitochondrial pathway.

Gu Y , Xu D , Liu J , Chen Y , Wang J , Song Y , Sun B , Xia B .

Micro/nano-plastics (M/NPs) are emerging contaminants in aquatic environment, however, little knowledge regarding the adverse effects of functionalized NPs has been documented so far. This study investigated the accumulation of different polystyrene nanoplastics (PS-NPs, i.e., plain PS, carboxyl-functional PS-COOH and amino-functional PS-NH2) at two particle sizes of 100 nm and 200 nm, and evaluated the impacts on oxidative stress, energy metabolism and mitochondrial pathway responses in intestine and respiratory tree of Apostichopus japonicus during the 20-d exposure experiment. The results showed that there were significant interactions of particle size and nanoplastic type on the accumulation of different PS-NPs. Exposure to NPs significantly increased the production of malondialdehyde, glutathione and reactive oxygen species, as well as the activities of antioxidant enzymes including glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and catalase, resulting in various degrees of oxidative damage in sea cucumber. The significant decrease in adenosine triphosphate content and increases in alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase activities suggested that NPs impaired energy metabolism and modified their energy allocation. After 20-d exposure, the complex I, II and III activities in mitochondrial respiratory chain were significantly inhibited. Meanwhile, the Bax and Caspase-3 gene expression were significantly up-regulated, and Bacl-2 was down-regulated, indicating the toxicity on mitochondrial pathway of A. japonicus. The calculated IBR values elucidated the greater detriment to mitochondrial pathway than oxidative stress and energy metabolism. For 100 nm particle size, plain PS has stronger influence on all the biomarkers compared to PS-COOH/NH2, however, the opposite trends were observed in 200 nm PS-NPs. Furthermore, 100 nm PS-NPs were recognized to be more hazardous to sea cucumber than 200 nm microbeads. These findings provide new insights for understanding the differentiated toxic effects of functionalized NPs in marine invertebrates.

PubMed ID: 36610653
Article link: Environ Pollut