Gold (AuNPs, 12.8 nm) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs, 10 nm), mixed or separate, were injected into the caudal vein of male Sprague–Dawley rats for 4 weeks. The rats were allowed to recover for further 4 weeks to examine the differences in AuNP/AgNP tissue distribution and clearance. The size distribution of injected AuNPs and AgNPs were not statistically different. The dose groups (five males per group for the administration and three males for the recovery) consisted of seven divisions, i.e., control, AgNPs (with a low dose of 10 µg/kg/day, and, a high dose of 100 µg/kg/day), AuNPs (with a low dose of 10 µg/kg/day, and, a high dose of 100 µg/kg/day), as well as mixed AgNPs/AuNPs (with a low dose of 10/10 µg/kg/day, and a high dose of 100/100 µg/kg/day). The AgNPs accumulated in a dose-dependent manner in the liver, spleen, kidneys, lung, brain, testis or blood. Au concentration increased also in a dose-dependent manner in the liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs, but not in the brain, testis and blood. Ag concentration in the tissues increased dose-dependently after 4 weeks of AgNP/AuNP mixed administration, but to a much lower extent than those observed when they were administered separately. Ag concentration in the tissues after 4 weeks of AgNP/AuNP mixed administration cleared dose-dependently after 4 weeks of recovery. Au concentration in the tissues increased dose-dependently after 4 weeks of AgNp/AuNP mixed administration, while Au concentration in the tissues did not clear as seen in Ag after 4 weeks recovery. Au concentration showed biopersistency or accumulation in the liver, kidneys, spleen and brain of the 4 weeks of recovery. In conclusion, AgNPs and AuNPs showed different toxicokinetic properties and the mixed administration of AgNPs with AuNPs resulted in mutual reduction of their tissue distribution which appeared to be due to competitive inhibition. Furthermore, this subacute intravenous injection study has suggested that these nanoparticles were distributed to the organs in particulate instead of ionic forms.
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This research was supported by the NanoMaterial Technology Development Program (2014M3A7B6020163) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and the Industrial Technology Innovation Program (1005291, Development of highly usable nanomaterial inhalation toxicity testing system in commerce) through the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy and NIH/NIEHS Grants U19ES019545, P30ES007033 and EPA Grant RD83573801.
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Lee, J.H., Sung, J.H., Ryu, H.R. et al. Tissue distribution of gold and silver after subacute intravenous injection of co-administered gold and silver nanoparticles of similar sizes. Arch Toxicol 92, 1393–1405 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-018-2173-4
- Silver nanoparticles
- Gold nanoparticles
- Subacute intraveneous injection
- Tissue distribution