Acute toxicity of Zinc Oxide nanoparticles to silkworm (Bombyx mori L.)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yuanyuan Xu
  • Wenrong Wang
  • Lin Ma
  • Guohua Wu

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Jiangsu University of Science and Technology
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Birmingham


Zinc Oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) has been heavily used in the industry, and increasing concerns on the ecotoxicity has arisen due to the risk of release into the environment. In this work, silkworm was used here as a model organism to study the toxicity of ZnO NPs, due to the presence of a conserved immune response as well as a pharmacokinetics similar to mammals. Zn accumulation, biodistribution and toxicity in silkworms were monitored at different time points after a subcutaneous injection. The highest cumulative content of ZnO NPs was detected in the midgut. The results of catalytic activity studies confirmed that the antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT, GSH-PX) in midgut cells were expressed in response to ZnO NPs. The expression of genes (Dronc and Caspase-1) related to apoptosis was increased, while the Trt gene was down-regulated. A possible mechanism was proposed for toxicity of ZnO NPs to silkworms.

Bibliographic note

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127481
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jul 2020