Nano-titanium nitride causes developmental toxicity in zebrafish through oxidative stress

Nano-titanium nitride (Nano-TiN) has strong resistance to wear and corrosion, good biocompatibility, and an attractive metallic luster. Nano-TiN is widely used in medical devices, such as orthopedic implants, syringe needles, coronary stents, and long-term dental implants, and also in imitation gold jewelry. Despite its widespread use, there are few reports describing safety evaluations of Nano-TiN. Here, we exposed healthy zebrafish embryos to different concentrations of Nano-TiN solution for five days, starting at about four hours post fertilization, and found that Nano-TiN caused dose- and time-dependent developmental toxicity. With increasing Nano-TiN concentration and length of exposure, mortality, and deformities gradually increased; body length shortened and hatching rate and motility were significantly reduced. We also found that exposure to Nano-TiN affected development of the heart, liver, nerves, and other organs, and led to elevated levels of reactive oxygen species and reduced antioxidant capacity. Exposure to Nano-TiN resulted in downregulation of expression of antioxidant genes, such as nrf2, gclc, gclm, ho-1, and nqo1. Our results showed that exposure to Nano-TiN caused developmental and organ toxicity in zebrafish embryos and that the toxic effects may be mediated through oxidative stress.


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