Effects of nanosilver on Mytilus galloprovincialis hemocytes and early embryo development

Aquat Toxicol. 2018 Oct:203:107-116. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 7.


Silver nanoparticles (AgNP), one of the main nanomaterials for production and use, are expected to reach the aquatic environment, representing a potential threat to aquatic organisms. In this study, the effects of bare AgNPs (47 nm) on the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis were evaluated at the cellular and whole organism level utilizing both immune cells (hemocytes) and developing embryos. The effects were compared with those of ionic Ag+(AgNO3). In vitro short-term exposure (30 min) of hemocytes to AgNPs induced small lysosomal membrane destabilization (LMS EC50 = 273.1 μg/mL) and did not affect other immune parameters (phagocytosis and ROS production). Responses were little affected by hemolymph serum (HS) as exposure medium in comparison to ASW. However, AgNPs significantly affected mitochondrial membrane potential and actin cytoskeleton at lower concentrations. AgNO3 showed much higher toxicity, with an EC50 = 1.23 μg/mL for LMS, decreased phagocytosis and induced mitochondrial and cytoskeletal damage at similar concentrations. Both AgNPs and AgNO3 significantly affected Mytilus embryo development, with EC50 = 23.7 and 1 μg/L, respectively. AgNPs caused malformations and developmental delay, but no mortality, whereas AgNO3 mainly induced shell malformations followed by developmental arrest or death. Overall, the results indicate little toxicity of AgNPs compared with AgNO3; moreover, the mechanisms of action of AgNP appeared to be distinct from those of Ag+. The results indicate little contribution of released Ag+ in our experimental conditions. These data provide a further insight into potential impact of AgNPs in marine invertebrates.

Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Embryos; Hemocyte; Immunity; Mitochondria; Mytilus; Nanosilver.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects*
  • Hemocytes / cytology*
  • Hemocytes / drug effects
  • Hemolymph / drug effects
  • Larva / cytology
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Lysosomes / drug effects
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mytilus / cytology*
  • Mytilus / drug effects
  • Mytilus / embryology*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Silver / toxicity*
  • Silver Nitrate / toxicity
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Silver
  • Silver Nitrate