Developmental toxicity of engineered nanomaterials in rodents

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We summarized significant effects reported in the literature on the developmental toxicity of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in rodents. The developmental toxicity of ENMs included not only structural abnormalities, but also death, growth retardation, and behavioral and functional abnormalities. Most studies were performed on mice using an injection route of exposure. Teratogenic effects were indicated when multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), and TiO2-nanoparticles were administered to mice during early gestation. Reactive oxygen species levels were increased in placentas and malformed fetuses and their placentas after prenatal exposure to MWCNTs and SWCNTs, respectively. The pre- and postnatal mortalities and growth retardation in offspring increased after prenatal exposure to ENMs. Histopathological and functional abnormalities were also induced in placentas after prenatal exposure to ENMs. Maternal exposure to ENMs induced behavioral alterations, histopathological and biochemical changes in the central nervous system, increased susceptibility to allergy, transplacental genotoxicity, and vascular, immunological, and reproductive effects in offspring. The size- and developmental stage-dependent placental transfer of ENMs was noted after maternal exposure. Silver accumulated in the visceral yolk sac after being injected with Ag-NPs during early gestation. Although currently available data has provided initial information on the potential developmental toxicity of ENMs, that on the developmental toxicity of ENMs is still very limited. Further studies using well-characterized ENMs, state-of the-art study protocols, and appropriate routes of exposure are required in order to clarify these developmental effects and provide information suitable for risk assessments of ENMs.

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