Exposure of the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, to gold nanoparticles and the pro-oxidant menadione

Sara Tedesco, Hugh Doyle, Julian Blasco, Gareth Redmond, David Sheehan

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109 Scopus citations


Relatively little is known about how gold nanoparticles (GNP) might interact in vivo with marine organisms. Mytilus edulis was exposed (24 h) to ~ 15 nm GNP, menadione and both compounds simultaneously (GNP/menadione). GNP was detected by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy mainly in digestive gland of samples exposed to GNP though not GNP/menadione, perhaps due to impaired feeding. Thioredoxin reductase activity and malondialdehyde levels were determined in all tissues. Thioredoxin reductase inhibition was detected only in digestive gland exposed to menadione whilst malondialdehyde levels did not vary in response to treatment in all tissues. GNP caused a decrease in the reduced/oxidized glutathione ratio in digestive gland, but no difference was found in other tissues or for other treatments. One dimensional electrophoresis of proteins containing thiol groups was performed in all tissues and revealed a reduction in protein thiols for all treatments in digestive gland. Two dimensional electrophoresis of digestive gland extracts, from GNP and control groups, showed decreased levels of thiol proteins in response to GNP which we attribute to oxidation. Our results suggest that GNP causes a modest level of oxidative stress sufficient to oxidize thiols in glutathione and proteins but without causing lipid peroxidation or induction of thioredoxin reductase activity.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Glutathione
  • Gold
  • Menadione
  • Mytilus edulis
  • Nanoparticles
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proteomic
  • Thiol proteins
  • Toxicity


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