Effects of SiC nanoparticles orally administered in a rat model: Biodistribution, toxicity and elemental composition changes in feces and organs

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BackgroundSilicon carbide (SiC) presents noteworthy properties as a material such as high hardness, thermal stability, and photoluminescent properties as a nanocrystal. However, there are very few studies in regard to the toxicological potential of SiC NPs.ObjectivesTo study the toxicity and biodistribution of silicon carbide (SiC) nanoparticles in an in vivo rat model after acute (24 h) and subacute (28 days) oral administrations. The acute doses were 0.5, 5, 50, 300 and 600 mg·kg−1, while the subacute doses were 0.5 and 50 mg·kg−1.ResultsSiC biodistribution and elemental composition of feces and organs (liver, kidneys, and spleen) have been studied by Particle-Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE). SiC and other elements in feces excretion increased by the end of the subacute assessment. SiC did not accumulate in organs but some elemental composition modifications were observed after the acute assessment. Histopathological sections from organs (stomach, intestines, liver, and kidneys) indicate the absence of damage at all applied doses, in both assessments. A decrease in the concentration of urea in blood was found in the 50 mg·kg−1 group from the subacute assessment. No alterations in the urine parameters (sodium, potassium, osmolarity) were found.ConclusionThis is the first study that assesses the toxicity, biodistribution, and composition changes in feces and organs of SiC nanoparticles in an in vivo rat model. SiC was excreted mostly in feces and low traces were retrieved in urine, indicating that SiC can cross the intestinal barrier. No sign of toxicity was however found after oral administration.

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