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Developmental exposure to silver nanoparticles at environmentally relevant concentrations alters swimming behavior in zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) are ubiquitous in household and medical products because of their antimicrobial activity. A consequence of the high volume of Ag-NP production and usage is increased amounts of Ag-NPs released into the environment. Their small size (1-100 nm) results in unique physiochemical properties that may increase toxicity relative to their bulk counterpart. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to assess the potential toxicity of environmentally relevant concentrations of Ag-NPs in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Wild-type tropical 5D zebrafish embryos were exposed to Ag-NPs from 4 to 120 h postfertilization at 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1, and 3 ppm (mg/L). Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry confirmed concentration-dependent uptake of Ag into zebrafish as well as bioaccumulation over time. A morphological assessment revealed no significant hatching impairment, morphological abnormalities, or mortality at any concentration or time point examined. However, assessment of photomotor behavior at 3 d postfertilization (dpf) revealed significant hyperactivity in the 0.3, 1, and 3 ppm Ag-NP treatment groups. At 4 dpf, significant hyperactivity was observed only in the 3 ppm treatment group, whereas 5 dpf larvae exposed to Ag-NPs displayed no significant abnormalities in photomotor behavior. These findings suggest that nonteratogenic concentrations of Ag-NPs are capable of causing transient behavioral changes during development. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:3018-3024. © 2018 SETAC.

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