Nanoparticle exposure in pregnancy may result in placental damage and fetotoxicity; however, the factors that determine fetal nanoparticle exposure are unclear. Here we have assessed the effect of gestational age and nanoparticle composition on fetal accumulation of maternally-administered nanomaterials in mice. We determined the placental and fetal uptake of 13...nm gold nanoparticles with different surface modifications (ferritin, PEG and citrate) following intravenous administration at E5.5-15.5. We showed that prior to E11.5, all tested nanoparticles could be visualized and detected in fetal tissues in significant amounts; however, fetal gold levels declined dramatically post-E11.5. In contrast, Au-nanoparticle accumulation in the extraembryonic tissues (EET) increased 6-15 fold with gestational age. Fetal and EET accumulation of ferritin-and PEG-modified nanoparticles was considerably greater than citrate-capped nanoparticles. No signs of toxicity were observed. Fetal exposure to nanoparticles in murine pregnancy is, therefore, influenced by both stage of embryonic/placental maturation and nanoparticle surface composition.
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