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Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are widely used in numerous industries and areas of daily life, mainly as antimicrobial agents. The particles size is very important, but still not suffi ciently recognized parameter infl uencing the toxicity of nanosilver. The aim of this study was to investigate the cytotoxic effects of AgNPs with different particle size (~ 10, 40 and 100 nm). The study was conducted on both reproductive and pulmonary cells (CHO-9, 15P-1 and RAW264.7). We tested the effects of AgNPs on cell viability, cell membrane integrity, mitochondrial metabolic activity, lipid peroxidation, total oxidative and antioxidative status of cells and oxidative DNA damage. All kinds of AgNPs showed strong cytotoxic activity at low concentrations (2÷13 μg/ml), and caused an overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at concentrations lower than cytotoxic ones. The ROS being formed in the cells induced oxidative damage of DNA in alkaline comet assay. The most toxic was AgNPs<10 nm. The results indicate that the silver nanoparticles, especially less than 10 nm, may be harmful to the organisms. Therefore, risk should be considered when using nanosilver preparations and provide appropriate protective measures when they are applied.
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