Genotoxic potential of different nano-silver halides in cultured human lymphocyte cells

Drug Chem Toxicol. 2023 Nov;46(4):768-780. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2022.2096056. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Most antibacterial applications in nanotechnology are carried out using silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). However, there is a dearth of information on the biological effects of AgNPs on human blood cells. In this study, the cytotoxic and genotoxic potentials of ionic silver (Ag+), AgNP, silver bromide (AgBr), silver chloride (AgCl), and silver iodide (AgI) were evaluated through chromosome aberration (CA) test and cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus (CBMN) test in human cultured lymphocytes in vitro. Furthermore, the potential damages that can cause to DNA were evaluated through alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet) assay on isolated lymphocytes. The results showed that AgNPs exerted cytotoxic effects by reducing the cytokinesis-block proliferation index and mitotic index at 24 and 48 h. AgNPs also increased micronucleus (MN) formation at both exposure times in the cultured cells. Meanwhile, AgCl had no genotoxic effects on the human lymphocyte cultured cells but had a cytotoxic effect at high doses. AgNP, Ag+, AgBr, and AgI caused substantial DNA damage by forming DNA strand breaks. They may also have clastogenic, genotoxic and cytotoxic effects on human lymphocyte cells. Based on the foregoing findings, silver nanomaterials may have genotoxic and cytotoxic potentials on human peripheral lymphocytes in vitro.

Keywords: Chromosomal aberration; DNA damage; cytotoxicity; micronucleus; silver halides.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / toxicity
  • Micronucleus Tests / methods
  • Silver / toxicity


  • Silver