Using primary organotypic mouse midbrain cultures to examine developmental neurotoxicity of silver nanoparticles across two genetic strains

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Micromass culture systems have been developed as three-dimensional organotypic in vitro alternatives to test developmental toxicity. We have optimized a murine-based embryonic midbrain micromass system in two genetic strains to evaluate neurodevelopmental effects of gold-cored silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) of differing sizes and coatings—20 nm AgCitrate, 110 nm AgCitrate, and 110 nm AgPVP. AgNPs are increasingly used in consumer, commercial, and medical products for their antimicrobial properties and observations of Ag in adult and fetal brain following in vivo exposures to AgNPs have led to concerns about the potential for AgNPs to elicit adverse effects on neurodevelopment and neurological function. Cytotoxicity was assessed at three time points of development by both nominal dose and by dosimetric dose. Ag dosimetry was assessed in cultures and the gold core component of the AgNPs was used as a tracer for determination of uptake of intact AgNPs and silver dissolution from particles in the culture system. Results by both nominal and dosimetric dose show cell death increased significantly in a dose-dependent manner at later time points (days 15 and 22 in vitro) that coincide with differentiation stages of development in both strains. When assessed by dosimetric dose, cultures were more sensitive to smaller particles, despite less uptake of Ag in smaller particles in both strains.HighlightsEffects of silver nanoparticles assessed using in vitro mouse micromass system.Greater toxicity observed during later differentiation stages of neurodevelopment.Smaller silver nanoparticles showed greater toxicity than larger particles.Gold core used as a tracer for determination of dissolution of silver nanoparticles.Genetic strain affected particle uptake and response.

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