Developmental Toxicity of Aluminium and Silver to Drosophila melanogaster

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Robert Clay

Abstract

Aluminium (Al) and silver (Ag), through human activities, are present in the environment at concentrations sufficient to cause toxicity. The aim of this study was to administer Al and Ag to the short lived model organism Drosophila melanogaster, so that developmental toxicity and potential ameliorative interventions could be examined over a compressed timescale relative to mammalian models.Aluminium was administered to Drosophila in food as either the chloride salt or citrate complex at concentrations of 1, 10 and 100 mM and various developmental parameters were assessed. The lowest concentration to delay pupation relative to the control was 10 mM but this depended upon the food in which it was administered. Higher whole body tissue levels of Al were seen following Al citrate administration compared to AlCl3, but Al citrate was less toxic as this did not did not impair larval viability at 100 mM; 100 mM AlCl3 resulted in 100% mortality. Eclosion success was significantly impaired with either form of Al at 10 mM, but no difference was seen between the forms of Al. When Drosophila were fed AlCl3 over their entire lifespan, a small but significant reduction in the lifespan of male flies was seen. No behavioural toxicity could be demonstrated. Existing studies have demonstrated significant tissue Al concentrations and toxicity whereas these have been minimal in this study. It is suggested that these differences may have a genetic component, with food composition exerting an influence also.Silver, either as AgNO3 or Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs) was administered in concentrations up to 500 micromolar and 10 mM, respectively. Either form of Ag, at 50 micromolar was sufficient to significantly retard pupation rate, although pupation or eclosion success was not impaired until 100 micromolar. The concentration-response relationship for AgNO3 was steep with pupation success dropping to nearly zero by 300 micromolar; Drosophila in this study were far more sensitive to AgNO3 than those in other reports. Animals exposed to AgNPs were still able to pupate at 500 micromolar, but these pupae were almost all non-viable when exposed to 400 micromolar AgNPs. At 1 mM and above, AgNPs, however, showed reduced toxicity compared to lower concentrations. The reasons for this are unclear. Both forms of Ag caused de-pigmentation in adults after larval exposure that may be explainable by inhibition of polyphenol oxidase enzymes by Ag (I) ions. The de-pigmentation was preventable by pre-loading larvae with Cu. Ascorbate prevented the de-pigmentation caused by AgNPs but not AgNO3 suggesting that AgNP toxicity is due to Ag (I) ion release. Oxidation of AgNPs was found to be greatly accelerated by Fe (III) and Cu (II) ions in the presence of Cl- ions. Although some of the results here conflict with the literature, developmental toxicity has been observed here, for both Al and Ag, and the variability across studies may provide an opportunity for dissecting the mechanisms behind Al and Ag toxicity through identification of the traits that confer sensitivity or resistance.

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Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Aug 2014