Three glowing mice


glowing_mice

Mice injected with quantum dots are helping scientists understand how nanoparticles can accumulate in the body © Edward A. Sykes & Qin Dai

These glowing mice are helping scientists to understand where nanoparticles end up in the body. The mice have been injected with quantum dots so that they glow under UV light and may lead to a simple way of testing people’s exposure to nanoparticles.

Researchers led by Warren Chan at the University of Toronto in Canada injected mice with gold nanoparticles, as well as zinc sulfide-capped cadmium selenium sulfide quantum dots. They found that the skin was an important site that nanoparticles accumulated at, with gold nanoparticles actually turning their skin blue. Using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy the team discovered that the number of nanoparticles in the mice’s skin correlated neatly with the levels found in their livers and spleens. This means that skin biopsies could be a simple way of determining nanoparticle accumulation in a person’s body. However, the authors note that they need to investigate how different surface chemistries, sizes and other factors affect where and how nanoparticles build up in living organisms.


Related Content

Cracking the mushroom glow mystery

27 April 2016 Research

news image

A Japanese researcher believes he has solved part of the puzzle of fungal bioluminescence

Big problems with little particles?

9 April 2015 Feature

news image

There is a risk that poor toxicology studies could start undermining the success of nanomaterials, reports Elinor Hughes

Most Commented

Electric choc treatment promises lower fat chocolate

22 June 2016 Research

news image

Problem of reduced fat chocolate gumming up factories’ pipelines overcome

UK plans stricter controls on poisons and explosives

7 August 2014 News and Analysis

news image

The government will use licenses to track the sale of hazardous substances