Silver nanoparticle exposure impairs ion regulation in zebrafish embryos

Chih Ying Lee, Jiun Lin Horng, Po Yen Chen, Li Yih Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The potential toxicity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to the early stages of fish is still unclear. This study used zebrafish embryos as a model to investigate the toxic effects of AgNPs on ion regulation by skin ionocytes. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to AgNPs for 96 h (4–100 h post-fertilization (hpf)) or 4 h (96–100 hpf). After 96 h of exposure to 5 and 10 mg/L AgNPs, survival rates had decreased to 42% and 0%, respectively; the body length had also significantly decreased at 5 mg/L. Whole-body Na+ and K+ contents significantly decreased at 1 and 3 mg/L, while Ca2+ contents decreased at ≥0.1 mg/L. H+ secretion by the skin significantly decreased at 1 mg/L. The density of skin ionocytes labeled with rhodamine 123 (a mitochondrion marker) decreased by 25% and 55% at 1 and 3 mg/L, respectively; and 54% of ionocytes (at 3 mg/L) were deformed from an oval to a spinous shape. After 4 h of exposure to 1 and 5 mg/L, whole-body Na+ and Ca2+ contents, H+ secretion, and density of ionocytes had also significantly decreased. This study revealed the toxicity of AgNPs to skin ionocytes and ion regulation in the early stages of zebrafish embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105263
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept


  • Ion regulation
  • Ionocyte
  • Mitochondria
  • Rhodamine 123
  • SIET
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Skin
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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