Background: Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) are used in many applications together with a variety of industrial purposes with potential risk to human health.
Objective: The present study aimed to find out the histological, histochemical and ultrastructural alterations that might be induced by Au NPS in the vital organs.
Methodology: Wistar Albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) were subjected to 10 nm Au NPs at a daily dose of 2 mg/kg. Liver, kidney, heart and lung biopsies from control and Au NPs- treated rats under study were subjected to histocytological examinations.
Findings: In comparison with the control animals, the renal tissue of Au NPs-treated rats demonstrated glomerular congestion, interstitial inflammatory cells infiltration, renal tubules hydropic degeneration, cloudy swelling, necrosis and hyaline casts precipitation. In addition, subjection to Au NPs induced the following hepatic alterations: Hepatocytes cytolysis, cytoplasmic vacuolation, hydropic degeneration and nuclear alterations together with sinusoidal dilatation. Moreover, the heart of the treated rats demonstrated myocarditis, cardiac congestion, hyalinosis, cardiomyocytes hydropic degeneration, myofiber disarray and cardiac congestion. The lung of Au NPs-treated rats also exhibited the following pulmonary alterations: electasis, emphysema, inflammatory cells inflammation, thickened alveolar wall, pulmonary interstitial edema, congestion, hypersensitivity, fibrocytes proliferation and honeycombing.
Conclusion: Exposure to Au NPs can induce histological, histochemical and ultrastructural alterations in the vital organs that may alter the function of these organs. Additional efforts are needed for better understanding the potential risk of Au NPs to human health.