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Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) possess various interesting plasmonic properties that can provide a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic functionalities for biomedical applications. Compared to other inorganic metal nanoparticles (NPs), GNPs are less toxic and more biocompatible. However, the in vivo toxicity of gold nanoparticles on humans can be significant due to the size effect. This work aims to study the effect of multiple doses of small-size (≈20 nm) GNPs on the vital organs of Wistar rats. The study includes the oxidative stress in vital organs (liver, brain, and kidney) caused by GNPs and histopathology analysis. The rats were given a single caudal injection of NPs dispersed in PBS at 25, 50, 100, and 250 mg/kg of body weight. After sacrifice, both plasma and organs were collected for the determination of oxidant/antioxidant markers and histological studies. Our data show the high sensitivity of oxidative stress parameters to the GNPs in the brain, liver, and kidneys. However, the response to this stress is different between the organs and depends upon the antioxidant defense, where GSH levels control the MDA and PCO levels. Histological alterations are mild at 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg but significant at higher concentrations of 250 mg/kg. Therefore, histological impairments are shown to be dependent on the dose of GNPs. The results contribute to the understanding of oxidative stress and cellular interaction induced by nanoparticles.

Original publication




Journal article


ACS Omega

Publication Date





20656 - 20665