Histopathology of fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) exposed to hydroxylated fullerenes
Hydroxylated fullerenes are reported to be very strong antioxidants, acting to quench reactive oxygen species, thus having strong potential for important and widespread applications in innovative therapies for a variety of disease processes. However, their potential for toxicological side effects is still largely controversial and unknown. Effects of hydroxylated fullerenes C60(OH)24 on the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) were investigated microscopically after a 72-hour (acute) exposure by intraperitoneal injection of 20 ppm of hydroxylated fullerenes per gram of body mass. Cumulative, semi-quantitative histopathologic evaluation of brain, liver, anterior kidney, posterior kidney, skin, coelom, gills and the vestibuloauditory system revealed significant differences between control and hydroxylated fullerene-treated fish. Fullerene-treated fish had much higher cumulative histopathology scores. Histopathologic changes included loss of cellularity in the interstitium of the kidney, a primary site of haematopoiesis in fish, and loss of intracytoplasmic glycogen in liver. In the coelom, variable numbers of leukocytes, including many macrophages and fewer heterophils and rodlet cells, were admixed with the nanomaterial. These findings raise concern about in vivo administration of hydroxylated fullerenes in experimental drugs and procedures in human medicine, and should be investigated in more detail.