Nanoparticle immunotoxicity using an environmental sentinel as a model

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Shore

Abstract

At the moment, little in known about the possible health and environmental effects of exposure of people and animals to the nanoparticles that are increasingly being used in common household good. One of the fears about nanoparticles is that due to their small size, they may not behave like other chemicals. Most studies on the toxic effects of nanoparticle done so far have looked at effects only on cells maintained outside the body. A few studies with whole animals have been done, but these have mostly looked only at the most severe effects (like death!). From the studies of nanoparticles toxicity conducted, one toxic effect that has been seen is an affect on the efficiency of the immune system that protects the body against disease. In this project we will look in detail at how exposure to metals as nanoparticles, as bulk materials and as the dissolved free metal form impacts on the workings of cells of the immune system of a common UK earthworm species. Our choice to use earthworms is not made merely because these animals are common and easy to keep (although this is true); it is also because the immune system of earthworms work through the activity of free circulating cells that are very similar to those found in humans and other mammals. After exposing collected immune cells and intact worms to zinc and titanium nanoparticles, bulk chemical and dissolved Zn we will measure the activities of immune cell. To understand any changes we see will also conducted further measurement to look at the effects of the different metal forms on the internal workings of the immune cells and use a microscope method to find out in which part of the cells most of the nanoparticles end up in. This will help us have a much clearer picture of what the effects of metal nanoparticle exposure may be for immune cells in earthworm and other species.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Among the first assessments to investigate the ecological risk of metal nanoparticles in soils.

Increased our understanding of the risks posed by metal nanoparticles, and focused attention on the behaviour, fate, bioavailability and uptake of these manufactured materials in the soil environment.
Exploitation Route Increased our understanding of the risks posed by metal nanoparticles, and focused attention on the behaviour, fate, bioavailability and uptake of these manufactured materials in the soil environment.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description In this preliminary assessment we investigated the potential toxicity of TiO2, CdS and ZnO nanoparticles, to the earthworm Eisenia veneta in both aqueous and soil media. Following acute and chronic exposures, we measured a variety of endpoints including immune system activity, body burdens, and life history traits. To our knowledge this is the first nanoparticle study to consider responses at the cell, tissue, individual and population levels. Our initial results indicate that these metal nanoparticles tend to be less toxic than their bulk counterparts, although similar concentrations of both metal forms were detected in the worm tissues. These results provide insight into new routes for investigating the environmental and health effects of nanoparticles.
First Year Of Impact 2008
 
Description EU FP7 NMP
Amount € 8,600,000 (EUR)
Funding ID EU NMP - GUIDEnano - FP7 grant agreement ?604387. 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2013 
End 04/2017
 
Description EU H2020 "Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing" (NMBP)
Amount € 11,300,000 (EUR)
Funding ID NanoFASE - H2020 grant agreement No 640002 (EU Coordinator) 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2015 
End 08/2019
 
Description European Commision - Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (LEIT-NMBP) both FP7 and H2020
Amount € 3,251,135 (EUR)
Funding ID NanoFATE: Nanoparticle Fate Assessment and Toxicity in the Environment (NanoFATE) EU NMP - Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies project. Grant agreement no.:CP-FP 247739 (2010-2014) 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2010 
End 03/2014