Multigenerational graphene oxide intoxication results in reproduction disorders at the molecular level of vitellogenin protein expression in Acheta domesticus

Chemosphere. 2021 Oct;280:130772. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130772. Epub 2021 May 4.


The anthropogenic activities may lead to accumulation of graphene oxide (GO) pollution in the environment. Organisms exposed to chronic or multigenerational GO intoxication can present reproduction depletion. Vitellogenin (Vg) has been used as a parameter for evaluating female fertility due to its importance in embryo nutrition. In this study, we used a promising model organism, Acheta domesticus, which was intoxicated with GO in food for three generations. The aim of the study was to investigate the process of Vg synthesis in crickets depending on the exposure time, GO concentration, and age of the females. The results revealed that chronic GO intoxication had adverse effects on the Vg expression pattern. The 1st generation of insects showing low Vg expression was most affected. The 2nd generation of A. domesticus presented a high Vg expression. The last investigated generation seemed to cope with stress caused by GO, and the Vg expression was balanced. We suggest that the epigenetic mechanisms may play a role in the information transfer to the next generations on how to react to the risk factor and keep reproduction at a high rate. We suspect that chronic GO intoxication can disturb the regular formation of the Vg quaternary structure, resulting in consequences for developing an embryo.

Keywords: Acheta domesticus; Epigenetic memory; Graphene oxide; Reproduction disorders; Vitellogenin.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Graphite* / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Proteomics
  • Reproduction
  • Vitellogenins* / genetics


  • Vitellogenins
  • graphene oxide
  • Graphite