Low doses of pristine and oxidized single-wall carbon nanotubes affect mammalian embryonic development

Antonio Pietroiusti, Micol Massimiani, Ivana Fenoglio, Massimiliano Colonna, Federica Valentini, Giuseppe Palleschi, Antonella Camaioni, Andrea Magrini, Gregorio Siracusa, Antonio Bergamaschi, Alessandro Sgambato, Luisa Campagnolo

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

174 Citazioni (Scopus)


Several in vitro and in vivo studies suggest local and systemic effects following exposure to carbon nanotubes. No data are available, however, on their possible embryotoxicity in mammals. In this study, we tested the effect of pristine and oxidized single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) on the development of the mouse embryo. To this end, SWCNTs (from 10 ng to 30 μg/mouse) were administered to female mice soon after implantation (postcoital day 5.5); 10 days later, animals were sacrificed, and uteri, placentas, and fetuses examined. A high percentage of early miscarriages and fetal malformations was observed in females exposed to oxidized SWCNTs, while lower percentages were found in animals exposed to the pristine material. The lowest effective dose was 100 ng/mouse. Extensive vascular lesions and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were detected in placentas of malformed but not of normally developed fetuses. Increased ROS levels were likewise detected in malformed fetuses. No increased ROS production or evident morphological alterations were observed in maternal tissues. No fetal and placental abnormalities were ever observed in control animals. In parallel, SWCNT embryotoxicity was evaluated using the embryonic stem cell test (EST), a validated in vitro assay developed for predicting embryotoxicity of soluble chemical compounds, but never applied in full to nanoparticles. The EST predicted the in vivo data, identifying oxidized SWCNTs as the more toxic compound.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)4624-4633
Numero di pagine10
RivistaACS Nano
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Time Factors


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