Theranostics 2012; 2(7):734-745. doi:10.7150/thno.4290

Research Paper

The Invasion and Reproductive Toxicity of QDs-Transferrin Bioconjugates on Preantral Follicle in vitro

Gaixia Xu1,2✉, Suxia Lin2, Wing-Cheung Law3, Indrajit Roy3, Xiaotan Lin2, Shujiang Mei4, Hanwu Ma4, Siping Chen2, Hanben Niu1, Xiaomei Wang2✉

1. College of Optoelectronic Engineering, Key Laboratory of Optoelectronics Devices and Systems of Ministry of Education/Guangdong Province, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, P. R. China
2. School of Medicine, Shenzhen Key laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, P. R. China
3. Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics and Department of Electrical Engineering, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14260-4200, U.S
4. The Center of Disease Prevent and Control in Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518020, P. R. China


The toxicity of QD has been extensively studied over the past decade. However, the potential toxicity of QDs impedes its use for clinical research. In this work, we established a preantral follicle in vitro culture system to investigate the effects of QD-Transferrin (QDs-Tf) bioconjugates on follicle development and oocyte maturation. The preantral follicles were cultured and exposed to CdTe/ZnTe QDs-Tf bioconjugates with various concentrations and the reproductive toxicity was assessed at different time points post-treatment. The invasion of QDs-Tf for oocytes was verified by laser scanning confocal microscope. Steroid production was evaluated by immunoassay. C-band Giemsa staining was performed to observe the chromosome abnormality of oocytes. The results showed that the QDs-Tf bioconjugates could permeate into granulosa cells and theca cells, but not into oocyte. There are no obvious changes of oocyte diameter, the mucification of cumulus-oocyte-complexes and the occurrence of aneulpoidy as compared with the control group. However, delay in the antrum formation and decrease in the ratio of oocytes with first polar body were observed in QDs-Tf-treated groups. The matured oocytes with first polar body decreased significantly by ~16% (from 79.6±10 % to 63±2.9 %) when the concentration of QDs-Tf bioconjugates exceeded 2.89 nmol·L-1 (P < 0.05). Our results implied that the CdTe/ZnTe QDs-Tf bioconjugates were reproductive toxic for follicle development, and thus also revealed that this in vitro culture system of preantral follicle is a highly sensitive tool for study on the reproductive toxicity of nanoparticles.

Keywords: preantral follicle, invasion, reproductive toxicity, in vitro culture system, QDs-transferrin bioconjugate.

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How to cite this article:
Xu G, Lin S, Law WC, Roy I, Lin X, Mei S, Ma H, Chen S, Niu H, Wang X. The Invasion and Reproductive Toxicity of QDs-Transferrin Bioconjugates on Preantral Follicle in vitro. Theranostics 2012; 2(7):734-745. doi:10.7150/thno.4290. Available from