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Title: Immunotoxicity assessment of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots in macrophages, lymphocytes and BALB/c mice
Authors: Wang, Xiaomei
Tian, Jinglin
Yong, Ken-Tye
Zhu, Xuedan
Lin, Marie Chia-Mi
Jiang, Wenxiao
Li, Jiefeng
Huang, Qijun
Lin, Guimiao
Keywords: Quantum dots
Issue Date: 2016
Source: Wang, X., Tian, J., Yong, K.-T., Zhu, X., Lin, M. C.-M., Jiang, W., et al. (2016). Immunotoxicity assessment of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots in macrophages, lymphocytes and BALB/c mice. Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 14(10).
Series/Report no.: Journal of Nanobiotechnology
Abstract: Background: The toxicity of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) in the environment and biological systems has become a major concern for the nanoparticle community. However, the potential toxicity of QDs on immune cells and its corresponding immune functions remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the immunotoxicity of CdSe/ZnS QDs using the in vitro in macrophages and lymphocytes and in vivo in BALB/c mice. Results: Our results indicated that macrophages treated with 1.25 or 2.5 nM QDs exhibited decreased cell viability, increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), elevated apoptotic events, altered phagocytic ability, and decreased release of TNF-α and IL-6 by upon subsequent stimulation with Lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In contrast, lymphocytes exposed to QDs exhibited enhanced cell viability, increased release of TNF-α and IL-6 following exposure with CpG-ODN, and decreased transformation ability treatment in response to LPS. To study the in vivo effects in mice, we showed that QDs injection did not cause significant changes to body weight, hematology, organ histology, and phagocytic function of peritoneal macrophages in QDs-treated mice. In addition, the QDs formulation accumulated in major immune organs for more than 42 days. Lymphocytes from QDs-treated mice showed reduced cell viability, changed subtype proportions, increased TNF-α and IL-6 release, and reduced transformation ability in response to LPS. Conclusions: Taken together, these results suggested that exposures to CdSe/ZnS QDs could suppress immune-defense against foreign stimuli, which in turn could result in increased susceptibility of hosts to diseases.
ISSN: 1477-3155
DOI: 10.1186/s12951-016-0162-4
Schools: School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering 
Rights: © 2016 Wang et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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