Diesel Engine Exhaust Additive Cerium Dioxide effects Sperm at Ultra Low Levels In Vitro

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Diesel engine exhaust additive Cerium Dioxide effects Sperm at ultra low levels In Vitro

CeO2 Nanomaterials from Diesel Engine Exhaust Induce DNA Damage and Oxidative Stress in Human and Rat Sperm In Vitro

An in vitro study was carried out to evaluate if combusted commercialised Cerium Dioxide Nanomaterial based diesel additives induces toxic effects on human and rat sperm cells at different concentrations and if the mechanisms involved are different compared to pure Cerium Dioxide nanomaterial, as used in previous studies.

To answer this human and rat sperm were exposed to four different concentrations of Cerium Dioxide nanomaterial (1, 10, 100, 1000 µg/L) for 1 hour, along with a positive and negative control, for quality assurance. All motile sperm were then recovered using the swim-up procedure and analysed for DNA damage by comet assay analysis. Imaging of the sperm was then performed by transmission electron microscopy to identify the exact location of Cerium Dioxide nanomaterials in proximity to the sperm.

Surprisingly initial results showed that even at the lowest exposure level of 1 µg/L, there was a significant increase in the DNA damage to both human (10.8% vs 30.1%) and rat sperm (9.34% vs 18.2%). Similarly levels of reactive oxygen species in human sperm significantly increased after 1 hour of exposure to the lowest concentration of cerium dioxide. Interestingly imaging of the sperm post exposure showed the cerium dioxide nanomaterials near the head plasma membrane of the sperm however no internalised cerium dioxide nanomaterial was observed.


  1. In vitro laboratory study limits the relevance to real world scenarios

Similar studies

Modrzynska J, et al. (2018). In vivo-induced size transformation of cerium oxide nanoparticles in both lung and liver does not affect long-term hepatic accumulation following pulmonary exposure. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202477

Préaubert L, et al. (2018). Very low concentration of cerium dioxide nanoparticles induce DNA damage, but no loss of vitality, in human spermatozoa. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2018.03.013

Li D, et al. (2015). In vivo biodistribution and physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling of inhaled fresh and aged cerium oxide nanoparticles in rats. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12989-016-0156-2


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