Effects of subchronic exposure to zinc nanoparticles on tissue accumulation, serum biochemistry, and histopathological changes in tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Kaya H., Duysak M., Akbulut M., YILMAZ S., GÜRKAN M., Arslan Z., ...More

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY, vol.32, no.4, pp.1213-1225, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/tox.22318
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1213-1225
  • Keywords: zinc nanoparticles, accumulation, serum biochemistry, histopathology, Oreochromis niloticus
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Zinc nanoparticles (ZnNPs) are among the least investigated NPs and thus their toxicological effects are not known. In this study, tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) were exposed to 1 and 10 mg/L suspensions of small size (SS, 40-60 nm) and large size (LS, 80-100 nm) ZnNPs for 14 days under semi-static conditions. Total Zn levels in the intestine, liver, kidney, gill, muscle tissue, and brain were measured. Blood serum glucose (GLU), glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT), glutamic pyruvic transaminase (GPT), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were examined to elucidate the physiological disturbances induced by ZnNPs. Organ pathologies were examined for the gills, liver, and kidney to identify injuries associated with exposure. Significant accumulation was observed in the order of intestine, liver, kidney, and gills. Zn levels exhibited time- and concentration-dependent increase in the organs. Accumulation in kidney was also dependent on particle size; NPs SS-ZnNPs were trapped more effectively than LS-ZnNPs. No significant accumulation occurred in the brain (p>0.05) while Zn levels in muscle tissue increased only marginally (p0.05). Significant disturbances were noted in serum GOT and LDH (p<0.05). The GPT levels fluctuated and were not statistically different from those of controls (p>0.05). Histopathological tubular deformations and mononuclear cell infiltrations were observed in kidney sections. In addition, an increase in melano-macrophage aggregation intensity was identified on the 7th day in treatments exposed to LS-ZnNPs. Mononuclear cell infiltrations were identified in liver sections for all treatments. Both ZnNPs caused basal hyperplasia in gill sections. Fusions appeared in the gills after the 7th day in fish treated with 10 mg/L suspensions of SS-ZnNPs. In addition, separations in the secondary lamella epithelia were observed. The results indicated that exposure to ZnNPs could lead to disturbances in blood biochemistry and cause histopathological injuries in the tissues of O. niloticus. (c) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 32: 1213-1225, 2017.