Effects and bioaccumulation of gold nanoparticles in the gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) - Single and combined exposures with gemfibrozil


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are found in a wide range of applications and therefore expected to present increasing levels in the environment. There is however limited knowledge concerning the potential toxicity of AuNPs as well as their combined effects with other pollutants. Hence, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of AuNPs alone and combined with the pharmaceutical gemfibrozil (GEM) on different biological responses (behaviour, neurotransmission, biotransformation and oxidative stress) in one of the most consumed fish in southern Europe, the seabream Sparus aurata. Fish were exposed for 96 h to waterborne 40 nm AuNPs with two coatings - citrate and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), alone or combined with GEM. Antioxidant defences were induced in liver and gills upon both AuNPs exposure. Decreased swimming performance (1600 mu g.L-1) and oxidative damage in gills (4 and 80 mu g.L-1) were observed following exposure to polyvinylpyrrolidone coated gold nanoparticles (PVP-AuNPs). Generally, accumulation of gold in fish tissues and deleterious effects in S. aurata were higher for PVP-AuNPs than for cAuNPs exposures. Although AuNPs and GEM combined effects in gills were generally low, in liver, they were higher than the predicted. The accumulation and effects of AuNPs showed to be dependent on the size, coating, surface charge and aggregation/agglomeration state of nanoparticles. Additionally, it was tissue' specific and dependent on the presence of other contaminants. Although, gold intake by humans is expected to not exceed the estimated tolerable daily intake, it is highly recommended to keep it on track due to the increasing use of AuNPs. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



subject category

Environmental Sciences & Ecology


Barreto, A; Luis, LG; Pinto, E; Almeida, A; Paiga, P; Santos, LHMLM; Delerue-Matos, C; Trindade, T; Soares, AMVM; Hylland, K; Loureiro, S; Oliveira, M

our authors


This research was supported through the COMPETE - Operational Competitiveness Program and national funds through FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project NANOAu - Effects of Gold Nanoparticles to Aquatic Organisms (FCT PTDC/MAR-EST/3399/2012) (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-029435), through FCT/MCTES through national funds (PIDDAC) and the cofounding by FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020 to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017 - POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007638). A. Barreto has a doctoral fellowship from FCT (SFRH/BD/97624/2013); L G. Luis had a fellowship from FCT (BI/U188/6881/2014). MO has financial support of the program Investigator FCT, co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme and European Social Fund (IF/00335(2015).

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