Relevance to investigate different stages of pregnancy to highlight toxic effects of nanoparticles: The example of silica

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Abstract

Amorphous silica nanoparticles (SiO2NPs) have been recognized as safe nanomaterial, hence their use in biomedical applications has been explored. Data, however, suggest potential toxicity of SiO2 NPs in pregnant individuals. However, no studies relating nanoparticle biokinetic/toxicity to the different gestational stages are currently available. In this respect, we have investigated the possible embryotoxic effects of three-size and two-surface functionalization SiO2NPs in mice. After intravenous administration of different concentrations at different stages of pregnancy, clinical and histopathological evaluations, performed close to parturition, did not show signs of maternal toxicity, nor effects on placental/fetal development, except for amino-functionalized 25 nm NPs. Biodistribution was studied by ICP-AES 24 h after administration, and demonstrates that all particles distributed to placenta and conceptuses/fetuses, although size, surface charge and gestational stage influenced biodistribution. Our data suggest the need of comprehensive toxicological studies, covering the entire gestation to reliably assess the safety of nanoparticle exposure during pregnancy.

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