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Distribution, Translocation and Accumulation of Silver Nanoparticles in Rats

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Silver nanoparticles (SNPs) are widely used in the field of biomedicine, but a comprehensive understanding of how SNPs distribute in the body and the induced toxicity remains largely unknown. The present study was designed to investigate the distribution and accumulation of SNPs in rats with subcutaneous injection. Rats were injected with either SNPs or silver microparticles (SMPs) at 62.8 mg/kg, and then sacrificed at predetermined time points. The main organs of the experimental animals were harvested for ultrastructural analysis by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and for silver content analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results indicated that SNPs translocated to the blood circulation and distributed throughout the main organs, especially in the kidney, liver, spleen, brain and lung in the form of particles. SMPs, however, could not invade the blood stream, or organ tissues. Ultrastructural observations indicate that those SNPs that had accumulated in organs could enter different kinds of cells, such as renal tubular epithelial cells and hepatic cells. Moreover, SNPs also induced blood-brain barrier (BBB) destruction and astrocyte swelling, and caused neuronal degeneration. The results suggest more cautions needed in biomedical applications of SNPs, in particular, the long term uses.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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