Toxic and Genotoxic Effects of Silver Nanoparticles in Drosophila

Mohamed Alaraby, Sara Romero, Alba Hernández, Ricard Marcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

19 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The in vivo model Drosophila melanogaster was used here to determine the detrimental effects induced by silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) exposure. The main aim was to explore its interaction with the intestinal barrier and the genotoxic effects induced in hemocytes. The observed effects were compared with those obtained by silver nitrate, as an agent acting via the release of silver ions. Larvae were fed in food media containing both forms of silver. Results indicated that silver nitrate was more toxic than AgNPs when the viability “egg-to-adult” was determined. Depigmentation was observed in adults including those exposed to nontoxic concentrations, as indicative of exposure action. Interestingly, AgNPs were able to cross the intestinal barrier affecting hemocytes that show significant increases in the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species. Additionally, significant levels of genotoxic damage, as determined by the comet assay, were also induced. When the expression of different stress-response genes was determined, for both AgNPs and silver nitrate, significant upregulation of Sod2 and p53 genes was observed. Our results confirm for the first time that in an in vivo model as Drosophila, AgNPs are able to cross the intestinal barriers and produce primary DNA damage (comet assay) via oxidative stress induction. In general, the effects induced by silver nitrate were more pronounced than those induced by AgNPs what would emphasize the role of silver ions in the observed effects. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 60:277–285, 2019. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Animals
  • DNA Damage/drug effects
  • Drosophila Proteins/biosynthesis
  • Drosophila melanogaster/drug effects
  • Hemocytes/drug effects
  • Metal Nanoparticles/toxicity
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Oxidative Stress/drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
  • Silver Nitrate/toxicity
  • Silver/toxicity
  • Superoxide Dismutase/biosynthesis
  • Tight Junctions/metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/biosynthesis


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