Microplastics and Their Impact on Reproduction-Can we Learn From the C. elegans Model?

Elysia Jewett, Gareth Arnott, Lisa Connolly, Nandini Vasudevan, Eva Kevei

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Biologically active environmental pollutants have significant impact on ecosystems, wildlife, and human health. Microplastic (MP) and nanoplastic (NP) particles are pollutants that are present in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems at virtually every level of the food chain. Moreover, recently, airborne microplastic particles have been shown to reach and potentially damage respiratory systems. Microplastics and nanoplastics have been shown to cause increased oxidative stress, inflammation, altered metabolism leading to cellular damage, which ultimately affects tissue and organismal homeostasis in numerous animal species and human cells. However, the full impact of these plastic particles on living organisms is not completely understood. The ability of MPs/NPs to carry contaminants, toxic chemicals, pesticides, and bioactive compounds, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals, present an additional risk to animal and human health. This review will discusses the current knowledge on pathways by which microplastic and nanoplastic particles impact reproduction and reproductive behaviors from the level of the whole organism down to plastics-induced cellular defects, while also identifying gaps in current knowledge regarding mechanisms of action. Furthermore, we suggest that the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans provides an advantageous high-throughput model system for determining the effect of plastic particles on animal reproduction, using reproductive behavioral end points and cellular readouts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number748912
Pages (from-to)748912
Number of pages21
JournalFrontiers in toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022

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Copyright © 2022 Jewett, Arnott, Connolly, Vasudevan and Kevei.


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