Oxidative stress and toxicity of gold nanoparticles in Mytilus edulis

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Gold nanoparticles (AuNP) have potential applications in drug delivery, cancer diagnosis and therapy, food industry and environment remediation. However, little is known about their potential toxicity or fate in the environment. Mytilus edulis was exposed in tanks to750. ppb AuNP (average diameter 5.3 ± 1. nm) for 24. h to study in vivo biological effects of nanoparticles. Traditional biomarkers and an affinity procedure selective for thiol-containing proteins followed by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) separations were used to study toxicity and oxidative stress responses. Results were compared to those obtained for treatment with cadmium chloride, a well known pro-oxidant. M. edulis mainly accumulated AuNP in digestive gland which also showed higher lipid peroxidation. One-dimensional SDS/PAGE (1DE) and 2DE analysis of digestive gland samples revealed decreased thiol-containing proteins for AuNP. Lysosomal membrane stability measured in haemolymph gave lower values for neutral red retention time (NRRT) in both treatments but was greater in AuNP. Oxidative stress occurred within 24. h of AuNP exposure in M. edulis. Previously we showed that larger diameter AuNP caused modest effects, indicating that nanoparticle size is a key factor in biological responses to nanoparticles. This study suggests that M. edulis is a suitable model animal for environmental toxicology studies of nanoparticles.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2010


  • Gold nanoparticle
  • Mytilus
  • Oxidative stress
  • Thiol
  • Toxicity


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