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Impacts of ingested MWCNT-Embedded nanocomposites in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes)



Melissa Chernick, Alan Kennedy, Treye Thomas, Keana C. K. Scott, Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Mark Wiesner, David Hinton


Polymer nanocomposites combine the versatile, lightweight characteristics of polymers with the properties of nanomaterials. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is commonly used in polymer additive manufacturing due to its controllable transparency, high modulus, and mechanical properties. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) add tensile strength, electrical conductivity, and thermal stability. The increased use of nanocomposites has led to concern over potential human health risks. We assessed morphologic alterations to determine impacts of ingested abraded nanocomposites compared to its component materials, pristine MWCNTs (1000 mg/L) and PETG. Adult transparent Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) were administered materials via oral gavage in 7 doses over 16 days. In vivo observations revealed altered livers and gallbladders following exposure to pristine MWCNTs and nanocomposites. Subsequent histologic sections showed fish exposed to pristine MWCNTs had highly altered biliary structures, and exposure to nanocomposites resulted in hepatocellular alteration. Thyroid follicle proliferation was also observed in fish exposed to materials containing MWCNTs. Transmission electron microscopy of livers showed that hepatocytes of fish exposed to MWCNTs had widespread swelling of rough endoplasmic reticulum, pronounced lysosomal activity, and swelling of intrahepatic biliary passageways. Fish exposed to nanocomposites had areas of degenerated hepatocytes with interspersed cellular debris. Each analysis showed that fish exposed to pristine PETG were most similar to controls. These results suggest that MWCNTs are the source of toxicity in abraded nanocomposite materials but that nanocomposites may also have some unique effects. The similarities of many teleost and mammalian tissues are such that these findings may indicate human health risks.


MWCNT, nanocomposite, nanotoxicity, matrix factor, PETG, CNT, Japanese Medaka, Oryzias latipes


Chernick, M. , Kennedy, A. , Thomas, T. , Scott, K. , Ogilvie Hendren, C. , Wiesner, M. and Hinton, D. (2022), Impacts of ingested MWCNT-Embedded nanocomposites in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), Nanotoxicology, [online],, (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created February 26, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022