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    Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are widely used in industrial products, and they have good antibacterial properties, with potential for prevention and treatment of cow mastitis. However, concerns exist about the cytotoxicity of AgNPs. Thus, we have studied the role of autophagy in AgNP-induced cytotoxicity in mouse HC11 mammary epithelium cells. We found that AgNPs injured HC11 cells, with release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). AgNPs also induced autophagy in HC11 cells, which was associated with oxidative stress, as indicated by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased expression of hemoxygenase-1(HO-1) and Nrf2. Mitochondria were altered by AgNPs: mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was decreased and the expression of PINK1 and Parkin was increased. AgNPs also increased the expression of p-AMPK and decreased the expression of p-Akt and p-mTOR. The addition of 3-methyl adenine inhibited autophagy and enhanced the cytotoxicity of AgNPs, indicating that autophagy is protective against AgNP-induced cell death. In summary, AgNPs induced protective autophagy in HC11 cells via the Akt/AMPK/mTOR pathway, associated with cellular oxidative stress and mitochondrial alterations. Our research confirms that AgNPs may damage the breast tissue in clinical applications and should be used with caution. Further research is necessary to clarify whether the damage caused by AgNPs will affect the lactation function of the mammary glands and possible residues in milk.


    Jin Hou, Ling Zhao, Huaqiao Tang, Xiaoli He, Gang Ye, Fei Shi, Min Kang, Helin Chen, Yinglun Li. Silver Nanoparticles Induced Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injuries Mediated Autophagy in HC11 Cells Through Akt/AMPK/mTOR Pathway. Biological trace element research. 2021 Mar;199(3):1062-1073

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    PMID: 32666434

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