Sub-chronic effects of AgNPs and AuNPs on Gammarus fossarum (Crustacea Amphipoda): From molecular to behavioural responses


K. Mehennaoui, S. Cambier, L. Minguez, T. Serchi, F. Guérold, A.C. Gutleb, and L. Giamberini


Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, vol. 210, art. no. 111775, 2021


The aim of the present study was the assessment of the sub-chronic effects of silver (AgNPs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of 40 nm primary size either stabilised with citrate (CIT) or coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) on the freshwater invertebrate Gammarus fossarum. Silver nitrate (AgNO3) was used as a positive control in order to study the contribution of silver ions potentially released from AgNPs on the observed effects. A multibiomarker approach was used to assess the long-term effects of AgNPs and AuNPs 40 nm on molecular, cellular, physiological and behavioural responses of G. fossarum. Specimen of G. fossarum were exposed for 15 days to 0.5 and 5 µg L−1 of CIT and PEG AgNPs and AuNPs 40 nm in the presence of food. A significant uptake of both Ag and Au was observed in exposed animals but was under the toxic threshold leading to mortality of G. fossarum. Silver nanoparticles (CIT-AgNPs and PEG-AgNPs 40 nm) led to an up-regulation of Na+K+ATPase gene expression. An up-regulation of Catalse and Chitinase gene expressions due to exposure to PEG-AgNPs 40 nm was also observed. Gold nanoparticles (CIT and PEG-AuNPs 40 nm) led to an increase of CuZnSOD gene expression. Furthermore, both AgNPs and AuNPs led to a more developed digestive lysosomal system indicating a general stress response in G. fossarum. Both AgNPs and AuNPs 40 nm significantly affected locomotor activity of G. fossarum while no effects were observed on haemolymphatic ions and ventilation.



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