Influence of the Gastrointestinal Environment on the Bioavailability of Ethinyl Estradiol Sorbed to Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes.


Recent evidence suggests that, because of their sorptive nature, if single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) make their way into aquatic environments, they may reduce the toxicity of other waterborne contaminants. However, few studies have examined whether contaminants remain adsorbed following ingestion by aquatic organisms. The objective of this study was to examine the bioavailability and bioactivity of ethinyl estradiol (EE2) sorbed onto SWCNTs in a fish gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Sorption experiments indicated that SWCNTs effectively adsorbed EE2, but the chemical was still able to bind and activate soluble estrogen receptors (ERs) in vitro. However, centrifugation to remove SWCNTs and adsorbed EE2 significantly reduced ER activity compared to that of EE2 alone. Additionally, the presence of SWCNTs did not reduce the extent of EE2-driven induction of vitellogenin 1 in vivo compared to the levels in organisms exposed to EE2 alone. These results suggest that while SWCNTs adsorb EE2 from aqueous solutions, under biological conditions EE2 can desorb and retain bioactivity. Additional results indicate that interactions with gastrointestinal proteins may decrease the level of adsorption of estrogen to SWCNTs by 5%. This study presents valuable data for elucidating how SWCNTs interact with chemicals that are already present in our aquatic environments, which is essential for determining their potential health risk.