A systematic review of evidence for silver nanoparticle-induced mitochondrial toxicity



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats

Attention Stats


© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016.Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are extensively used for their antibacterial properties in a diverse set of applications, ranging from the treatment of municipal wastewater to infection control in hospitals. However, the properties of AgNPs that render them conducive to bactericidal use in commerce may influence their potential toxicity to non-bacterial organisms. Based on the physiological and phylogenetic similarities between bacteria and mitochondria within eukaryotic cells, mitochondria are a likely intracellular target of AgNP toxicity. Mitochondria-specific outcomes of AgNP exposures have been identified in multiple cell types, including (but not limited to) loss of membrane potential, inhibition of enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, and changes in calcium sequestration. However, the biological significance of mitochondrial toxicity due to AgNP exposure is currently incompletely understood. This review examines the existing evidence of mitochondrial toxicity induced by AgNP exposure, with discussions of the role of the physicochemical properties of the nanoparticles themselves in mitochondrial toxicity. The impacts of potentially differential cell- and tissue-specific significance of AgNP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction are also discussed.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Maurer, LL, and JN Meyer (2016). A systematic review of evidence for silver nanoparticle-induced mitochondrial toxicity. Environmental Science: Nano, 3(2). pp. 311–322. 10.1039/c5en00187k Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12420.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Joel Meyer

Sally Kleberg Distinguished Professorship

Dr. Meyer studies the effects of toxic agents and stressors on human and wildlife health. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms by which environmental agents cause DNA damage, the molecular processes that organisms employ to protect prevent and repair DNA damage, and genetic differences that may lead to increased or decreased sensitivity to DNA damage. Mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, as well as mitochondrial function in general, are a particular focus. He studies these effects in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, in cell culture, and collaboratively in other laboratory model organisms as well as in human populations in the USA and globally.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.