Effects of charge and surface ligand properties of nanoparticles on oxidative stress and gene expression within the gut of Daphnia magna

Gustavo A. Dominguez, Samuel E. Lohse, Marco D. Torelli, Catherine J. Murphy, Robert J. Hamers, Galya Orr, Rebecca D. Klaper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Concern has been raised regarding the current and future release of engineered nanomaterials into aquatic environments from industry and other sources. However, not all nanomaterials may cause an environmental impact and identifying which nanomaterials may be of greatest concern has been difficult. It is thought that the surface groups of a functionalized nanoparticles (NPs) may play a significant role in determining their interactions with aquatic organisms, but the way in which surface properties of NPs impact their toxicity in whole organisms has been minimally explored. A major point of interaction of NPs with aquatic organisms is in the gastrointestinal tract as they ingest particulates from the water column or from the sediment. The main goal of this study was to use model gold NP (AuNPs) to evaluate the potential effects of the different surfaces groups on NPs on the gut of an aquatic model organism, Daphnia magna. In this study, we exposed daphnids to a range of AuNPs concentrations and assessed the impact of AuNP exposure in the daphnid gut by measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and expression of genes associated with oxidative stress and general cellular stress: glutathione S- transferase (gst), catalase (cat), heat shock protein 70 (hsp70), and metallothionein1 (mt1). We found ROS formation and gene expression were impacted by both charge and the specific surface ligand used. We detected some degree of ROS production in all NP exposures, but positively charged AuNPs induced a greater ROS response. Similarly, we observed that, compared to controls, both positively charged AuNPs and only one negatively AuNP impacted expression of genes associated with cellular stress. Finally, ligand-AuNP exposures showed a different toxicity and gene expression profile than the ligand alone, indicating a NP specific effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Toxicology
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Gene expression
  • Gst
  • Nanotoxicity
  • Oxidative stress
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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