Drosophila embryos as model to assess cellular and developmental toxicity of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) in living organisms.
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Different toxicity tests for carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been developed to assess their impact on human health and on aquatic and terrestrial animal and plant life. We present a new model, the fruit fly Drosophila embryo offering the opportunity for rapid, inexpensive and detailed analysis of CNTs toxicity during embryonic development. We show that injected DiI labelled multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) become incorporated into cells in early Drosophila embryos, allowing the study of the consequences of cellular uptake of CNTs on cell communication, tissue and organ formation in living embryos. Fluorescently labelled subcellular structures showed that MWCNTs remained cytoplasmic and were excluded from the nucleus. Analysis of developing ectodermal and neural stem cells in MWCNTs injected embryos revealed normal division patterns and differentiation capacity. However, an increase in cell death of ectodermal but not of neural stem cells was observed, indicating stem cell-specific vulnerability to MWCNT exposure. The ease of CNT embryo injections, the possibility of detailed morphological and genomic analysis and the low costs make Drosophila embryos a system of choice to assess potential developmental and cellular effects of CNTs and test their use in future CNT based new therapies including drug delivery.
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