Assessing cardiovascular toxicity in zebrafish embryos exposed to copper nanoparticles

Bu Yuan Hsiao, Jiun Lin Horng, Ching Hua Yu, Wen Ting Lin, Yu Han Wang, Li Yih Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The toxicity of copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) to aquatic animals, particularly their effects on the cardiovascular system, has not been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, zebrafish embryos were used as a model to address this issue. After exposure to different concentrations (0.01, 0.1, 1, and 3 mg/L) of CuNPs for 96 h (4 to 100 h post-fertilization), cardiac parameters of the heart rate (HR), end-diastolic volume (EDV), end-systolic volume (ESV), stroke volume (SV), ejection fraction (EF), and cardiac output (CO), and vascular parameters of the aortic blood flow velocity (ABFV) and aortic diameter (AD) were examined by a video-microscopic method. Morphologically, CuNPs induced concentration-dependent pericardial edema. Although CuNPs did not alter the HR, they significantly reduced the EDV, SV, and CO at ≥0.1 mg/L, the ESV and EF at 3 mg/L, the ABFV at ≥0.1 mg/L, and the AD at ≥1 mg/L. Transcript levels of several cardiac genes, nppa, nppb, vmhc, and gata4, were also examined. CuNPs significantly suppressed nppa and nppb at ≥0.1 mg/L, gata4 at ≥0.01 mg/L, and vmhc at 1 mg/L. This study demonstrated that CuNPs can induce cardiovascular toxicity at environmentally relevant concentrations during fish embryonic development and highlight the potential ecotoxicity of CuNPs to aquatic animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109838
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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