• Nanotoxicology;
  • Fullerene;
  • Glutathione;
  • Lipid peroxidation;
  • Redox state


Studies concerning the impact of nanomaterials, especially fullerene (C60), in fresh water environments and their effects on the physiology of aquatic organisms are still scarce and conflicting. We aimed to assess in vitro effects of fullerene in brain and gill homogenates of carp Cyprinus carpio, evaluating redox parameters. A fullerene suspension was prepared by continued stirring under fluorescent light during two months. The suspension concentration was measured by total carbon content and ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy nephelometry. Characterization of C60 aggregates was performed with an enhanced dark-field microscopy system and transmission electronic microscopy. Organ homogenates were exposed during 1, 2, and 4 h under fluorescent light. Redox parameters evaluated were reduced glutathione and oxidized glutathione, cysteine and cystine, total antioxidant capacity; activity of the antioxidant enzymes glutathione S-transferase and glutathione reductase (GR), and lipid peroxidation (TBARS assay). Fullerene induced a significant increase (p < 0.05) in lipid peroxidation after 2 h in both organs and reduced GR activity after 1 h (gills) and 4 h (brain) and antioxidant capacity after 4 h (brain). Levels of oxidized glutathione increased in the brain at 1 h and decreased at 2 h as well. Given these results, it can be concluded that C60 can induce redox disruption via thiol/disulfide pathway, leading to oxidative damage (higher TBARS values) and loss of antioxidant competence. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 961–967. © 2012 SETAC