Changes in the Daphnia magna midgut upon ingestion of copper oxide nanoparticles: a transmission electron microscopy study.Water Res. 2011 Jan; 45(1):179-90.WR
This work is a follow-up of our previous paper (Heinlaan et al., 2008. Chemosphere 71, 1308-1316) where we showed about 50-fold higher acute toxicity of CuO nanoparticles (NPs) compared to bulk CuO to water flea Daphnia magna. In the current work transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine potential time-dependent changes in D. magna midgut epithelium ultrastructure upon exposure to CuO NPs compared to bulk CuO at their 48 h EC(50) levels: 4.0 and 175 mg CuO/L, respectively. Special attention was on potential internalization of CuO NPs by midgut epithelial cells. Ingestion of both CuO formulations by daphnids was evident already after 10 min of exposure. In the midgut lumen CuO NPs were dispersed whereas bulk CuO was clumped. By the 48th hour of exposure to CuO NPs (but not to equitoxic concentrations of bulk CuO) the following ultrastructural changes in midgut epithelium of daphnids were observed: protrusion of epithelial cells into the midgut lumen, presence of CuO NPs in circular structures analogous to membrane vesicles from holocrine secretion in the midgut lumen. Implicit internalization of CuO NPs via D. magna midgut epithelial cells was not evident however CuO NPs were no longer contained within the peritrophic membrane but located between the midgut epithelium microvilli. Interestingly, upon exposure to CuO NPs bacterial colonization of the midgut occurred. Ultrastructural changes in the midgut of D. magna upon exposure to CuO NPs but not to bulk CuO refer to its nanosize-related adverse effects. Time-dependent solubilisation of CuO NPs and bulk CuO in the test medium was quantified by recombinant Cu-sensor bacteria: by the 48th hour of exposure to bulk CuO, the concentration of solubilised copper ions was 0.05 ± 0.01 mg Cu/L that was comparable to the acute EC(50) value of Cu-ions to D. magna (48 h CuSO(4) EC(50) = 0.07 ± 0.01 mg Cu/L). However, in case of CuO NPs, the solubilised Cu-ions 0.01 ± 0.001 mg Cu/L, explained only part of the toxicity.