Ming-Hsien Tsai1, How-Ran Chao This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3,4, Jheng-Jie Jiang5,6, Yu-Hsieh Su2, Mariene-syne P. Cortez7, Lemmuel L. Tayo7, I-Cheng Lu2, Hao Hsieh2Chih-Chung Lin2, Sheng-Lun Lin8,9, Wan Nurdiyana Wan Mansor10,11, Ching-Kai Su12, Sen-Ting Huang13, Wen-Li Hsu4,13

1 Department of Child Care, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
2 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
3 Institute of Food Safety Management, College of Agriculture, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
4 Emerging Compounds Research Center, General Research Service Center, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
5 Department of Environmental Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan 320314, Taiwan
6 Center for Environmental Risk Management, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan 320314, Taiwan
7 School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and Sciences, Mapúa University, Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila 1002, Philippines
8 School of Mechanical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
9 Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
10 Faculty of Ocean Engineering Technology & Informatics, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21300, Malaysia
11 Air Quality and Environment Research Group, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21300, K. Nerus, Malaysia
12 Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital Pingtung Branch, Neipu, Pingtung 91245, Taiwan
13 Research Institute for Life Support Innovation, Research Organization for Nano and Life Innovation, Waseda University, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan

Received: September 13, 2020
Revised: November 3, 2020
Accepted: December 6, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200559  

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Cite this article:

Tsai, M.H., Chao, H.R., Jiang, J.J., Su, Y.H., Cortez, M.P., Tayo, L.L., Lu, I.C., Hsieh, H., Lin, C.C., Lin, S.L., Wan Mansor, W.N., Su, C.K., Huang, S.T., Hsu, W.L. (2021). Toxicity of Low-dose Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles in an in-vivo Wild Type of Caenorhabditis elegans Model. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200559. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200559


  • GO NP exposure reduced the brood size of nematodes.
  • GO NP exposure delayed head thrash and body bend in nematodes.
  • GO NPs shortened the longevity of nematodes.
  • GO NP exposure caused the oxidative stress in nematodes.


Carbon-based engineered nanomaterials, such as graphene oxide nanoparticles (GO NPs), are widely available for application, but their potentially adverse health effects on humans still require investigation. In this study, the environmental levels of GO NPs are addressed to examine whether GO leads to adverse effects on an in-vivo model of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). Nematodes with prolonged exposure (L1 larvae to young adult) to GO NPs at 0.00100, 0.0100, 0.100, and 1.00 mg L–1 were used to evaluate the potential toxic effects, including lethality (acute toxicity), reproductive (brood size) and neurological (locomotion including head thrash and body bend) responses, longevity (lifespan), and oxidative stress (gene expression of sod-1, sod-3, and clt-2). Prolonged exposure to GO NPs was not found to induce lethality at the selective levels. In the brood-size and head-thrash tests, the biological responses in nematodes were significantly reduced at 0.0100-1.00 ng L–1 GO NP exposure as compared with the untreated control. The nematodes exposure to GO NPs at 0.00100–1.00 ng L–1 exhibited significant delays in body bending behavior compared with the control. In the examination of the longevity of nematodes, it was found that the lifespan of all GO NP-exposed worms was significantly shortened as compared to the untreated worms. Gene expression of sod-1, sod-3, and ctl-2 presented significantly higher induction folds in the exposed worms compared with the controls. Consequently, prolonged exposure to the low-dose GO NPs might be associated with disruption of reproduction and locomotion, attenuation of longevity, and induction of oxidative stress in nematodes.

Keywords: Graphene oxide, Caenorhabditis elegans, Reproductive toxicity, Neurobehavioral toxicity, Oxidative stress

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