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Toxicity of polyelectrolyte-functionalized titania nanoparticles in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

Arabeyyat, Zeinab H.; Al-Awady, Mohammed J.; Greenway, Gillian M.; Paunov, Vesselin; Rotchell, Jeanette M.


Zeinab H. Arabeyyat

Mohammed J. Al-Awady

Gillian M. Greenway

Vesselin Paunov


We investigated the effects of short-term exposure of bare TiO2NPs and polyelectrolyte-coated TiO2NPs in the 5-25 nm size range, at relatively high concentrations (of 500 and 1000 mg/L) under light or dark conditions, in D. rerio embryos. The biological endpoints investigated included embryo viability and mRNA transcript levels of antioxidant and membrane transport genes relative to control embryos. The presence of nanoparticles on the surface of embryos was assessed using TEM. The results confirm an accumulation of TiO2NPs on the outer surface (chorion) of the embryo, but not within the embryo. No significant difference in embryo viability was detected following each exposure regime. The expression of antioxidant biomarker, SOD2, was significantly impacted by the type of TiO2NP, with TiO2NPs/PSS/PAH coating exposure showing down regulation; the concentration of the nanoparticles, with down regulation at 500 mg/L; and dark/light condition with down regulation in the light. The expression levels of the hypoxia and membrane markers, HIF1 and Pxmp2, were not significantly impacted by any factor. The study indicates that SOD2 mRNA expression levels may be useful in the detection of apparent oxidative stress induced by the titania nanoparticle build up on the embryo chorion surface.


Arabeyyat, Z. H., Al-Awady, M. J., Greenway, G. M., Paunov, V., & Rotchell, J. M. (2020). Toxicity of polyelectrolyte-functionalized titania nanoparticles in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. SN Applied Sciences, 2(7),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 23, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 30, 2020
Publication Date 2020-07
Deposit Date Jun 23, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 8, 2020
Journal SN Applied Sciences
Electronic ISSN 2523-3971
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 7
Article Number 1312
Keywords Titania nanoparticles; Zebrafsh; Embryos; Oxidative stress
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Additional Information Received: 17 March 2020; Accepted: 23 June 2020; First Online: 30 June 2020; : ; : The authors report that there are no conflict of interest.


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© The Author(s) 2020.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attri- bution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adap- tation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons .org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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