In vivo nanotoxicity testing using the zebrafish embryo assay

Larissa Y. Rizzo, Susanne K. Golombek, Marianne E. Mertens, Yu Pan, Dominic Laaf, Janine Broda, Jabadurai Jayapaul, Diana Möckel, Vladimir Subr, Wim E. Hennink, Gerrit Storm, Ulrich Simon, Willi Jahnen-Dechent, Fabian Kiessling, Twan Gerardus Gertudis Maria Lammers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoparticles are increasingly used for biomedical purposes. Many different diagnostic and therapeutic applications are envisioned for nanoparticles, but there are often also serious concerns regarding their safety. Given the fact that numerous new nanomaterials are being developed every day, and that not much is known about the long-term toxicological impact of exposure to nanoparticles, there is an urgent need to establish efficient methods for nanotoxicity testing. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo assay has recently emerged as an interesting ‘intermediate’ method for in vivo nanotoxicity screening, enabling (semi-) high-throughput analyses in a system significantly more complex than cultured cells, but at the same time also less ‘invasive’ and less expensive than large-scale biocompatibility studies in mice or rats. The zebrafish embryo assay is relatively well-established in the environmental sciences, but has not yet gained wide notice in the nanomedicine field. Using prototypic polymeric drug carriers, gold-based nanodiagnostics and nanotherapeutics, and iron oxide-based nanodiagnostics, we here show that toxicity testing using zebrafish embryos is easy, efficient and informative, and faithfully reflects, yet significantly extends, cell-based toxicity testing. We therefore expect that the zebrafish embryo assay will become a popular future tool for in vivo nanotoxicity screening.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)3918-3925
JournalJournal of materials chemistry. B: materials for biology and medicine
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-301791
  • IR-90155

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