A Transcriptomic Analysis of T98G Human Glioblastoma Cells after Exposure to Cadmium-Selenium Quantum Dots Mainly Reveals Alterations in Neuroinflammation Processes and Hypothalamus Regulation

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 18;23(4):2267. doi: 10.3390/ijms23042267.


Quantum dots are nanoparticles with very promising biomedical applications. However, before these applications can be authorized, a complete toxicological assessment of quantum dots toxicity is needed. This work studied the effects of cadmium-selenium quantum dots on the transcriptome of T98G human glioblastoma cells. It was found that 72-h exposure to 40 µg/mL (a dose that reduces cell viability by less than 10%) alters the transcriptome of these cells in biological processes and molecular pathways, which address mainly neuroinflammation and hormonal control of hypothalamus via the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor. The biological significance of neuroinflammation alterations is still to be determined because, unlike studies performed with other nanomaterials, the expression of the genes encoding pro-inflammatory interleukins is down-regulated rather than up-regulated. The hormonal control alterations of the hypothalamus pose a new concern about a potential adverse effect of quantum dots on fertility. In any case, more studies are needed to clarify the biological relevance of these findings, and especially to assess the real risk of toxicity derived from quantum dots exposure appearing in physiologically relevant scenarios.

Keywords: T98G glioblastoma; gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor pathway; in vitro; nanoparticles; nanosafety; neuroinflammation; quantum dots.

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / adverse effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Glioblastoma / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases / genetics*
  • Quantum Dots / adverse effects*
  • Selenium / adverse effects*
  • Transcriptome / drug effects*
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Cadmium
  • Selenium