Research Papers: Pathology:

Toxicological assessment of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in vitro: potential mitochondria effects on male reproductive cells

Cheng Xu, Qian Liu, Hui Liu, Chunlan Zhang, Wentao Shao and Aihua Gu _

PDF  |  HTML  |  Supplementary Files  |  How to cite

Oncotarget. 2016; 7:39270-39278. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9689

Metrics: PDF 2099 views  |   HTML 2235 views  |   ?  


Cheng Xu1,2,*, Qian Liu1,2,*, Hui Liu1,2, Chunlan Zhang1,2, Wentao Shao1,2 and Aihua Gu1,2

1 State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

2 Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this study, and they should be regarded as joint first authors

Correspondence to:

Aihua Gu, email:

Keywords: multiwalled carbon nanotubes; in vitro; male reproduction; spermatocyte; mitochondria; Pathology Section

Received: April 05, 2016 Accepted: May 23, 2016 Published: May 29, 2016


Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have been widely used in many fields and were reported to cause reversible testis damage in mice at high-dose. However the reproductive effects of low dose MWCNTs remained elusive. Herein, we used the mice spermatocyte cell line (GC-2spd) to assess the reproductive effects of MWCNTs. Size distribution, zeta potential, and intensity of MWCNTs were characterized. A maximal concentration of 0.5 μg/mL MWCNTs was found to be nonlethal to GC-2spd. At this dose, cell cycles and the ROS levels were in normal status. We also found MWCNTs accumulated in mitochondria, which caused potential mitochondrial DNA damage in spermatocyte. Furthermore, the expression level of mitochondria-related genes, the oxygen consumption rate, and cellular ATP content were declined compared to controls, even at the nonlethal dose. Our results suggested for the first time that, in germ cells, mitochondrion was a cellular organelle that accumulated MWCNTs.

Creative Commons License All site content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
PII: 9689