An early developmental vertebrate model for nanomaterial safety: Bridging cell-based and mammalian toxicity assessment

Carl Webster, Desire Di Silvio, Aarthi Devarajan, Paolo Bigini, Eduardo Micotti, Chiari Giudice, Mario Salmona, Grant Wheeler, Victoria Sherwood, Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Background. With the rise in production of nanoparticles for an ever-increasing number of applications, there is an urgent need to efficiently assess their potential toxicity. We propose a nanoparticle hazard assessment protocol that combines mammalian cytotoxicity data with embryonic vertebrate abnormality scoring to determine an overall toxicity index.
Results. We observed that, after exposure to a range of nanoparticles, Xenopus phenotypic scoring showed a strong correlation with cell based in vitro assays. Magnetite-cored nanoparticles, negative for toxicity in vitro and Xenopus, were further confirmed as non-toxic in mice.
Conclusion. The results highlight the potential of Xenopus embryo analysis as a fast screening approach for toxicity assessment of nanoparticles, which could be introduced for the routine testing of nanomaterials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-656
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Nanotoxicity
  • nanomaterials
  • Xenopus laevis
  • nanomedicine
  • cytotoxicity
  • in vitro-in vivo correlations

Cite this