The role of charge in the toxicity of polymer-coated cerium oxide nanomaterials to Caenorhabditis elegans

Devrah A. Arndt, Emily K. Oostveen, Judy Triplett, D. Allan Butterfield, Olga V. Tsyusko, Blanche Collin, Daniel L. Starnes, Jian Cai, Jon B. Klein, Richard Nass, Jason M. Unrine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of surface functionalization and charge on ceria nanomaterial toxicity to Caenorhabditis elegans. The examined endpoints included mortality, reproduction, protein expression, and protein oxidation profiles. Caenorhabditis elegans were exposed to identical 2–5 nm ceria nanomaterial cores which were coated with cationic (diethylaminoethyl dextran; DEAE), anionic (carboxymethyl dextran; CM), and non-ionic (dextran; DEX) polymers. Mortality and reproductive toxicity of DEAE-CeO2 was approximately two orders of magnitude higher than for CM-CeO2 or DEX-CeO2. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis with orbitrap mass spectrometry identification revealed changes in the expression profiles of several mitochondrial-related proteins and proteins that are expressed in the C. elegans intestine. However, each type of CeO2 material exhibited a distinct protein expression profile. Increases in protein carbonyls and protein-bound 3-nitrotyrosine were also observed for some proteins, indicating oxidative and nitrosative damage. Taken together the results indicate that the magnitude of toxicity and toxicity pathways vary greatly due to surface functionalization of CeO2 nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Ceria nanoparticle
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proteomics
  • Surface charge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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