Dalle-Donne, Colombo, Milzani, Coccini, Roda, Barni
The potential toxic effects of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), administered by a single intratracheal instillation (i.t), was assessed in a rat model using commercial physico-chemical characterized nanosilver. Histopathological changes, overall toxic response and oxidative stress (kidney and plasma protein carbonylation), paralleled by ultrastructural observations (TEM), were evaluated to examine renal responses 7 and 28 days after i.t. application of a low AgNP dose (50 µg/rat), compared to an equivalent dose of ionic silver (7 µg AgNO₃/rat). The AgNPs caused moderate renal histopathological and ultrastructural alteration, in a region-specific manner, being the cortex the most affected area. Notably, the bulk AgNO₃, caused similar adverse effects with a slightly more marked extent, also triggering apoptotic phenomena. Specifically, 7 days after exposure to both AgNPs and AgNO₃, dilatation of the intercapillary and peripheral Bowman's space was observed, together with glomerular shrinkage. At day 28, these effects still persisted after both treatments, accompanied by an additional injury involving the vascular component of the mesangium, with interstitial micro-hemorrhages. Neither AgNPs nor AgNO₃ induced oxidative stress effects in kidneys and plasma, at either time point. The AgNP-induced moderate renal effects indicate that, despite their benefits, novel AgNPs employed in consumer products need exhaustive investigation to ensure public health safety.