Maternal dietary exposure to selenium nanoparticle led to malformation in offspring

Mengjuan Shi, Cunli Zhang, Ivan Fan Xia, Siu To Cheung, Kwong Sen Wong, Ka Hing Wong, Doris W.T. Au, David E. Hinton, Wing Hin Kevin Patrick Kwok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Selenium (Se) is an essential element and its biological activity is related to its speciation. It is also well-known that in excess it can cause teratogenesis in fish and birds. In this study we compared dietary toxicity of elemental selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) with selenite and selenomethionine (Se-Met). Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) was used as a laboratory model to determine Se effects on adults and their offspring. Adult females were individually exposed using a dry diet fortified with 0, 10 or 20 µg/g of the three Se species for 7 days and then allowed to breed for 3 days. Fertilization rate and the proportion of malformed offspring were examined. The three Se diets led to significant increase in maternal tissue Se concentration in the order of Se-Met >>selenite > SeNP. However, in terms of proportion of malformed offspring, the effect of Se-Met = selenite > SeNP. The malformations included pericardial edema and craniofacial changes, which were typical for Se toxicity. The mismatch of maternal ovary Se concentration and proportion of malformed offspring suggested total Se concentration is a poor predictor of toxicity and teratogenesis. Comparing expression of four genes related to oxidative stress in maternal tissue also showed that there were significant differences in expression patterns between three Se diets in the order of selenite = SeNP > Se-Met. Our results showed that SeNPs cause similar toxicity as other Se species but require further study to elucidate the underlying mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018


  • Dietary
  • Medaka
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Selenite
  • Selenomethionine
  • Teratogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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