An increasing number and quantity of manufactured nanoparticles are entering the environment as the diversity of their applications increases, and this will lead to the exposure of both humans and wildlife. However, little is known regarding their potential health effects. We compared the potential biological effects of silver (Ag; nominally 35 and 600–1,600 nm) and cerium dioxide (CeO2; nominally <25 nm and 1–5 µm) particles in a range of cell (human hepatocyte and intestinal and fish hepatocyte) and animal (Daphnia magna, Cyprinus carpio) models to assess possible commonalities in toxicity across taxa. A variety of analytical techniques were employed to characterize the particles and investigate their biological uptake. Silver particles were more toxic than CeO2 in all test systems, and an equivalent mass dose of Ag nanoparticles was more toxic than larger micro-sized material. Cellular uptake of all materials tested was shown in C3A hepatocytes and Caco-2 intestinal cells, and for Ag, into the intestine, liver, gallbladder, and gills of carp exposed via the water. The commonalities in toxicity of these particle types across diverse biological systems suggest that cross-species extrapolations may be possible for metal nanoparticle test development in the future. Our findings also suggest transport of particles through the gastrointestinal barrier, which is likely to be an important uptake route when assessing particle risk. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:144–154. © 2011 SETAC
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