Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(1):23-37. doi:10.7150/ntno.17753 This issue

Research Paper

Effects of Cd-based Quantum Dot Exposure on the Reproduction and Offspring of Kunming Mice over Multiple Generations

Jianwei Liu1, Chengbin Yang2, Jing Liu1, Rui Hu2, Yazhuo Hu1, Hongyan Chen1, Wing-Cheung Law3, Mark T. Swihart4 ✉, Ling Ye1 ✉, Kuan Wang5,6✉, Ken-Tye Yong2✉

1. Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing Key Lab of Aging and Geriatrics, Beijing 100853, P.R. China
2. School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
3. Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, P.R. China
4. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14260-4200, USA
5. Nanomedicine Program and Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan
6. College of Biomedical Engineering, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan

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Liu J, Yang C, Liu J, Hu R, Hu Y, Chen H, Law WC, Swihart MT, Ye L, Wang K, Yong KT. Effects of Cd-based Quantum Dot Exposure on the Reproduction and Offspring of Kunming Mice over Multiple Generations. Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(1):23-37. doi:10.7150/ntno.17753. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The potential health risks associated with heavy-metal containing quantum dots (QDs) are a major concern accompanying their increased application in both research and industry. In this contribution, we investigate the effects of QDs on reproductive outcomes in Kunming mice across three generations. Rather than being exposed to QDs during pregnancy, mice were intravenously injected with phospholipid micelle encapsulated CdSe/CdS/ZnS QDs at a dosage of 0.81 mg Cd/kg two weeks before mating. Four treatment groups were studied: non-injected control, female injected, male injected and both parents injected with QDs. Although QDs accumulated in the major organs of treated mice, we did not detect any pregnancy complications or adverse effects. No significant difference in pregnancy outcomes could be identified between the QD treated groups and the control group. More importantly, through behavior monitoring, blood tests and histological evaluations, two generations of the offspring were observed to be in normal and healthy condition. Our results show that QD exposure with a short buffering period before conception does not cause obvious pregnancy complications or significant toxicity effects in treated mice or their offspring. This indicates that a short buffering period after QD exposure may reduce potential risk of QDs to reproductive health.

Keywords: Quantum Dots, Toxicity, Reproductive Health, Offspring