Subchronic oral toxicity of silver nanoparticles

Cited 85 time in Web of Science Cited 372 time in Scopus
Kim, Yong Soon; Song, Moon Yong; Park, Jung Duck; Song, Kyung Seuk; Ryu, Hyeon Ryol; Chung, Yong Hyun; Chang, Hee Kyung; Lee, Ji Hyun; Oh, Kyung Hui; Kelman, Bruce J; Hwang, In Koo; Yu, Il Je
Issue Date
BioMed Central
Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 7(1):20
The antibacterial effect of silver nanoparticles has resulted in their extensive application in health, electronic, consumer, medicinal, pesticide, and home products; however, silver nanoparticles remain a controversial area of research with respect to their toxicity in biological and ecological systems.

This study tested the oral toxicity of silver nanoparticles (56 nm) over a period of 13 weeks (90 days) in F344 rats following Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) test guideline 408 and Good Laboratory Practices (GLP). Five-week-old rats, weighing about 99 g for the males and 92 g for the females, were divided into four 4 groups (10 rats in each group): vehicle control, low-dose (30 mg/kg), middle-dose (125 mg/kg), and high-dose (500 mg/kg). After 90 days of exposure, clinical chemistry, hematology, histopathology, and silver distribution were studied. There was a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in the body weight of male rats after 4 weeks of exposure, although there were no significant changes in food or water consumption during the study period. Significant dose-dependent changes were found in alkaline phosphatase and cholesterol for the male and female rats, indicating that exposure to more than 125 mg/kg of silver nanoparticles may result in slight liver damage. Histopathologic examination revealed a higher incidence of bile-duct hyperplasia, with or without necrosis, fibrosis, and/or pigmentation, in treated animals. There was also a dose-dependent accumulation of silver in all tissues examined. A gender-related difference in the accumulation of silver was noted in the kidneys, with a twofold increase in female kidneys compared to male kidneys.

The target organ for the silver nanoparticles was found to be the liver in both the male and female rats. A NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) of 30 mg/kg and LOAEL (lowest observable adverse effect level) of 125 mg/kg are suggested from the present study.
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