Comparison of teratogenecity induced by nano- and micro-sized particles of zinc oxide in cultured mouse embryos

  • Jung, A Young (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Jung, Ki Youn (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Lin, Chunmei (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Yon, Jung-Min (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Lee, Jong Geol (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Lee, Beom Jun (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Yun, Young Won (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Nam, Sang-Yoon (College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University)
  • Received : 2015.05.18
  • Accepted : 2015.06.10
  • Published : 2015.06.30


The increasing uses of zinc oxide nanoparticles (nZnO) in industrial and personal care products raise possible danger of using nZnO in human. To determine whether ZnO induces size-dependent anomalies during embryonic organogenesis, mouse embryos on embryonic day 8.5 were cultured for 2 days under 50, 100, and $150{\mu}g$ of nZnO (< 100 nm) or micro-sized ZnO (mZnO; $80{\pm}25{\mu}m$), after which the morphological changes, cumulative quantity of Zn particles, and expressions of antioxidant and apoptotic genes were investigated. Although embryos exposed to $50{\mu}g$ of ZnO exhibited no defects on organogenesis, embryos exposed to over $100{\mu}g$ of ZnO showed increasing anomalies. Embryos treated with $150{\mu}g$ of nZnO revealed significant changes in Zn absorption level and morphological parameters including yolk sac diameter, head length, flexion, hindbrain, forebrain, branchial bars, maxillary process, mandibular process, forelimb, and total score compared to the same dose of mZnO-treated embryos. Furthermore, CuZn-superoxide dismutase, cytoplasmic glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and phospholipid hydroperoxidase GPx mRNA levels were significantly decreased, but caspase-3 mRNA level was greatly increased in nZnO-treated embryos as compared to normal control embryos. These findings indicate that nZnO has severer teratogenic effects than mZnO in developing embryos.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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