2015 Volume 40 Issue 2 Pages 263-275
Steadily increased use of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs), has increased the amount of its exposure to humans and animals. Current scarce knowledge about the influences of prenatal exposure to Ag-NPs on postnatal outcomes, motivated us to investigate whether being exposed to it during pregnancy has any effects on neurobehavioral development of the adult offspring. Thirty virgin female NMRI mice were mated and treated subcutaneously once every three days from gestation day 3 until delivery, by 0, 0.2 and 2 mg/kg of bodyweight (BW) of Ag-NPs. Behavioral functions of adult offspring including spatial memory, passive avoidance learning, stress, anxiety-like behaviors and locomotor activities were assessed by commonly used neurobehavioral paradigms and the results were compared according to treatment and sex. Prenatal exposure to Ag-NPs significantly impaired their cognitive behavior in the Morris water maze. Although no evidence was observed indicating more anxiety-like behaviors in the treated offspring in the elevated plus maze, the number of defecations and leanings in the open field assay and number of passages in the light-dark box were greater in groups prenatally treated by Ag-NPs. Most of the impairments were more apparent in the offspring which had been prenatally exposed to high doses of Ag-NPs, particularly female ones. The present study indicated that the exposure of pregnant animals to Ag-NPs may lead to various neurobehavioral disorders in their offspring. Thus, more attention should be paid to avoid exposure to Ag-NPs, especially from pregnant females.