In this study, zebrafish larvae are introduced as an in vivo platform to examine the neurotoxicity and developmental toxicity associated with continuous exposure to a concentration gradient of different sizes of SiO2 nanoparticles (15 nm and 50 nm diameter) to determine the dose effect and size effect of SiO2 nanoparticle (NP)-induced toxicity. Bovine serum albumin (BSA-V) is utilized as a stabilizing agent to prevent coagulation of the SiO2 nanoparticles. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to describe locomotor activity assays linking rest/wake behavioral profiles for the purpose of investigating the neurotoxicity of NPs. In addition, developmental toxicological endpoints including mortality, LC50, malformation, and cartilaginous deformity are assessed. The results show a concentration-dependent increase in behavioral neurotoxicity, mortality, and malformation among larvae treated with the SiO2 nanoparticles of 15 nm and 50 nm. A comparison of the 15 nm and 50 nm NPs by K-means clustering analysis demonstrates that the 15 nm NPs have a greater neurotoxic effect than the 50 nm NPs, with the 50 nm NPs exhibiting greater developmental toxicity on the zebrafish larvae than the 15 nm NPs.
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