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Silver Nanoparticle Exposure Induces Neurotoxicity in the Rat Hippocampus Without Increasing the Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability

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Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) can enter the brain and subsequently induce neurotoxicity. However, the toxicity of Ag-NPs on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the underlying mechanism(s) of action on the hippocampus in vivo are not well understood. To investigate Ag-NP suspension (Ag-NPS)-induced toxicity on the BBB and neurons, Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 3 groups, and Ag-NPS, Ag-ion, and 5% sucrose solution (vehicle control) were administrated intravenously, respectively. After 24 h exposure to Ag-NPS, the BBB permeability was not significantly changed. However, the Ag concentrations in the brain tissues were only detected in the Ag-NPS group. Gene expression results indicated that the expression of Claudin 4 (tight junction protein) was significantly decreased. Furthermore, astrocyte foot swelling, neuron shrinkage and Ag-NP like particles were observed under transmission electron microscopy. Global gene expression analysis showed that 502 genes were up-regulated and 703 genes were down-regulated in the hippocampi treated with Ag-NPS. In the Ag-NPS-treated group, 78 biological functions were changed based on gene ontology (GO) and 34 signaling pathways were significantly changed using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis, which were associated with the neuroactive ligand–receptor interaction, cytokine–cytokine receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway and MAPK signaling pathway. In comparison, 27 GO and 9 KEGG pathways were changed in the released Ag-ion-treated group. Ag-NPS decreased C1qtnf3 expression and increased Adra1d expression to affect MAPK signaling pathway, which promoted inflammation and apoptosis in the hippocampus. Moreover, Ag-NPS significantly increased Spp1, Cacna1s and Tacr3 mRNAs expression, which may result in intracellular calcium increasing and initiate cell death. Furthermore, Ag-NPS affected calcium signaling pathway and neuroactive ligand–receptor (Grin2a, Drd2, and Adra1d), which are crucial in diverse cellular functions in the brain including cognition and neurodevelopment. These results draw our attention to the importance of Ag-NP-induced toxicity in the rat hippocampus and provide a better understanding of its toxicological mechanisms in vivo.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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