Integrative analysis of genes and miRNA alterations in human embryonic stem cells-derived neural cells after exposure to silver nanoparticles

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Abstract

Given the rapid growth of engineered and customer products made of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), understanding their biological and toxicological effects on humans is critically important. The molecular developmental neurotoxic effects associated with exposure to Ag NPs were analyzed at the physiological and molecular levels, using an alternative cell model: human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs). In this study, the cytotoxic effects of Ag NPs (10–200 μg/ml) were examined in these hESC-derived NPCs, which have a capacity for neurogenesis in vitro, at 6 and 24 h. The results showed that Ag NPs evoked significant toxicity in hESC-derived NPCs at 24 h in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, Ag NPs induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis following a significant increase in oxidative stress in these cells. To further clarify the molecular mechanisms of the toxicological effects of Ag NPs at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, the global expression profiles of genes and miRNAs were analyzed in hESC-derived NPCs after Ag NP exposure. The results showed that Ag NPs induced oxidative stress and dysfunctional neurogenesis at the molecular level in hESC-derived NPCs. Based on this hESC-derived neural cell model, these findings have increased our understanding of the molecular events underlying developmental neurotoxicity induced by Ag NPs in humans.

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