A Priority Programme of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


  • ² Professor Dr. Detlef Rath
    Institut für Nutztiergenetik
  • ² Privatdozent Dr. Wilfried Kues
    Institut für Nutztiergenetik
  • ² Professor Dr. Ing. Stephan Barcikowski
    Technische Chemie
    Fakultät Chemie
    Universität Duisburg-Essen
1 Phase 1: until Decembre 2010
2 Phase 2: since January 2011

Influence of Metal and Alloy NPs on Germ Cell Function and Embryo Development

Unintended exposure to a growing variety of nanoparticles (NP) may cause modifications in germline cells and embryos. Although such defects can impair fertility or lead to congenital defects and reprotoxic potential of NP has already been suggested, only little is known about their effect on reproductive cells.
The project aims to elucidate the effect of NP made of metals (Au, Ag) and alloys (AuAg, NiTi, CrCo) on morphological and genetic integrity, vitality and functionality of germ cells as well as developing embryos. Particles will be generated by laser ablation in liquid, since this allows fabrication of colloidal NP of high purity and zeta potential as well as the production of colloidal alloy nanoparticles. Porcine germ cells and embryos will be used, being a well accepted large animal model
close to human physiology. On the basis of trials already established jointly by the two applicant institutions for AuNP, spermatozoa, oocytes and embryos will be exposed to the particles by coincubation, in case of embryos also by microinjection and fertilization with NP-loaded spermatozoa/oocytes. Relevant parameters (sperm/oocytes: viability, morphology, fertilising potential; embryos: developmental capacity, gene expression, DNA-methylation) will be measured in a size,
time and dose-dependent manner. In case of detrimental effects, more detailed analyses will be performed. Also, NP will be injected into testicles to study their impact on spermatogenesis. The gained data will give profound insight into the reprotoxic potential of nanoparticles.