Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/16672
DNA damage and molecular level effects induced by polystyrene (PS) nanoplastics (NPs) after Chironomus riparius (Diptera) larvae
Chemosphere. 2023 Oct 30:346:140552.
In this work, we analyzed the early molecular effects of polystyrene (PS) nanoplastics (NPs) on an aquatic primary consumer (larvae of Chironomus riparius, Diptera) to evaluate their potential DNA damage and the transcriptional response of different genes related to cellular and oxidative stress, endocrine response, developmental, oxygen transport, and immune response. After 24-h exposures of larvae to doses of PS NPs close to those currently found in the environment, the results revealed a large genotoxic effect. This end was evidenced after significant increases in DNA strand breaks of C. riparius larvae quantified by the comet assay, together with results obtained when analyzing the expression of four genes involved in DNA repair (xrrc1, ATM, DECAY and NLK) and which were reduced in the presence of these nanomaterials. Consequently, this reduction trend is likely to prevent the repair of DNA damage caused by PS NPs. In addition, the same tendency to reduce the expression of genes involved in cellular stress, oxidative stress, ecdysone pathway, development, and oxygen transport was observed. Taken together, these results suggest that PS NPs reduce the expression of hormonal target genes and a developmental gene. We show, for the first time, effects of PS NPs on the endocrine system of C. riparius and suggest a possible mechanism of blocking ecdysteroid hormones in insects. Moreover, the NPs were able to inhibit the expression of hemoglobin (Hb C), a protein involved in oxygen transport, and activate a gene of the humoral immune system. These data reveal for the first time the genomic effects of PS NPs in the aquatic invertebrate C. riparius, at the base of the food chain.