Cadmium sulfate and CdTe-quantum dots alter DNA repair in zebrafish (Danio rerio) liver cells

Song Tang, Qingsong Cai, Hicham Chibli, Vinay Allagadda, Jay L. Nadeau, Gregory D. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Increasing use of quantum dots (QDs) makes it necessary to evaluate their toxicological impacts on aquatic organisms, since their contamination of surface water is inevitable. This study compares the genotoxic effects of ionic Cd versus CdTe nanocrystals in zebrafish hepatocytes. After 24h of CdSO4 or CdTe QD exposure, zebrafish liver (ZFL) cells showed a decreased number of viable cells, an accumulation of Cd, an increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and an induction of DNA strand breaks. Measured levels of stress defense and DNA repair genes were elevated in both cases. However, removal of bulky DNA adducts by nucleotide excision repair (NER) was inhibited with CdSO4 but not with CdTe QDs. The adverse effects caused by acute exposure of CdTe QDs might be mediated through differing mechanisms than those resulting from ionic cadmium toxicity, and studying the effects of metallic components may be not enough to explain QD toxicities in aquatic organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2013


  • Cadmium
  • DNA repair
  • Genotoxic
  • Quantum dots
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Zebrafish


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