Assessing potential harmful effects of CdSe quantum dots by using Drosophila melanogaster as in vivo model

Mohamed Alaraby, Esref Demir, Alba Hernández, Ricard Marcos

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23 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Since CdSe QDs are increasingly used in medical and pharmaceutical sciences careful and systematic studies to determine their biosafety are needed. Since in vivo studies produce relevant information complementing in vitro data, we promote the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a suitable in vivo model to detect toxic and genotoxic effects associated with CdSe QD exposure. Taking into account the potential release of cadmium ions, QD effects were compared with those obtained with CdCl<inf>2</inf>. Results showed that CdSe QDs penetrate the intestinal barrier of the larvae reaching the hemolymph, interacting with hemocytes, and inducing dose/time dependent significant genotoxic effects, as determined by the comet assay. Elevated ROS production, QD biodegradation, and significant disturbance in the conserved Hsps, antioxidant and p53 genes were also observed. Overall, QD effects were milder than those induced by CdCl<inf>2</inf> suggesting the role of Cd released ions in the observed harmful effects of Cd based QDs. To reduce the observed side-effects of Cd based QDs biocompatible coats would be required to avoid cadmium's undesirable effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015


  • CdSe QDs
  • Comet assay
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Hemocytes
  • Wing-spot assay


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