Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 7566–7574 | Cite as

Influence of multiwall carbon nanotubes on the toxicity of 17β-estradiol in the early life stages of zebrafish

  • Zhenhua Yan
  • Yuxuan Liu
  • Hongwei Sun
  • Guanghua LuEmail author
Research Article


Due to increasing use and release, both multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and 17β-estradiol (E2) may co-exist and interact with each other in aquatic environments. However, little is known about their combined effects on non-target organisms, especially in the presence of other environmental factors. In this study, the interplay between MWCNTs and E2 in the early life stages of zebrafish was investigated, focusing on the alterations in estrogenic responses with and without other environmental factors. There were no significant differences in the hatchability, mortality, or physical development of zebrafish in any treatments. Compared with E2 exposure, the E2-induced estrogenic responses (vtg1, vtg3, and esr1 genes) in zebrafish were markedly reduced to baseline by the presence of MWCNTs in most cases, indicating a strong protective effect. Furthermore, this inhibitive effect was not significantly changed by the preloading of natural organic matter (NOM) on MWCNTs. Nevertheless, the addition of ammonia nitrogen in the mixtures of MWCNTs and E2 alleviated the protective effect of MWCNTs, resuscitating the E2-induced estrogenic responses in zebrafish. These findings highlight the influence of carbon nanomaterials on the bioavailability of co-contaminants in organisms. The widespread environmental factors in natural environments should also be taken into consideration when the combined toxicity of nanomaterials and contaminants is discussed.


Multiwall carbon nanotube 17β-estradiol Estrogenic response Natural organic matter Ammonia nitrogen 


Funding information

This study was supported by the National Science Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (Grant 51421006), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 51509071, 51769034), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (Grant BK20150801), and the PAPD.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhenhua Yan
    • 1
  • Yuxuan Liu
    • 1
  • Hongwei Sun
    • 1
  • Guanghua Lu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes of Ministry of Education, College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Hydraulic and Civil EngineeringXiZang Agricultural and Animal Husbandry CollegeLinzhiChina

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