Intravenous Injection of Unfunctionalized Carbon-based Nanomaterials Confirms the Minimal Toxicity Observed in Aqueous and Dietary Exposures in Juvenile Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)


David Boyle, Paul A. Sutton, Richard D. Handy, Theodore B. Henry


Numerous ecotoxicology studies of carbon-based nanomaterials (CNMs) have been conducted in fishes; however, different approaches have been used to make CNM dispersions and dose tanks for aqueous exposures, and to prepare food containing CNMs for dietary studies. This diversity of experimental methods has led to conflicting results and difficulties in comparing studies. The objective of the present study was to evaluate intravenous injection of unfunctionalized CNMs in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), as a means of delivering a known internal dose, on tissue biochemistry and histopathological lesions; then, subsequently, to compare the results with our previous work on aqueous and dietary exposures of rainbow trout to CNMs. Rainbow trout were injected in the caudal vein with corn oil dispersions of 200 μg (approximately 1 μg g-1) of either the fullerene C60, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), or amorphous carbon black. After 96 h, injected fish were euthanized and tissue samples collected for biochemistry and histology. Histological examination of the kidney of fish injected intravenously indicated the presence of black material consistent with the injected carbon treatments. However, there were no additional lesions associated with CNM exposure compared to controls. There were also no significant changes in haematology, or ionoregulatory disturbance in blood plasma among the intravenously injected fish. Significant elevation in lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances TBARS) was detected only in kidney and spleen of fish injected with SWCNTs, but not the other carbon treatments. The elevated TBARS following injection contrasted with CNMs delivered via aqueous or dietary routes in our previous studies, suggesting that the latter exposure routes may not lead to absorption and toxicity in the internal tissues. Comparison of the effects of injected CNMs with aqueous and dietary CNMs exposures indicates that these materials are of minimal environmentally-relevant toxicity in rainbow trout.

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Boyle D, Sutton PA, Handy RD, Henry TB. 2018. Intravenous injection of unfunctionalized carbon-based nanomaterials confirms the minimal toxicity observed in aqueous and dietary exposures in juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Environmental Pollution 232:191-199.