Zinc oxide nanoparticle is considered to be one of the most important nanoparticles because of its wide range of applications in many industries such as electronics, cosmetics, personal care products and food additives. As a result of its widespread use, humans become more exposed to zinc oxide nanoparticles via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal penetration. This study aims to investigate the toxic effect of zinc oxide nanoparticles on the brain and spinal cord in rats by the assessment of histopathological changes using light and electron microscopic examination. Eighty adult albino rats were divided into four groups, each group comprising twenty rats. The control group received water via oral gastric tube while the second, third and the fourth groups received 50, 200 and 400 mg/kg/day of zinc oxide nanoparticles, respectively via intraperitoneal injections for two months. Zinc oxide nanoparticles led to degeneration in the brain and spinal cord including pyramidal and glial cells, white and gray matter associated with pyknotic nuclei and disturbance in many cytoplasmic organelles. Prolonged use of zinc oxide nanoparticles induced ultrastructural and histopathological changes in brain and spinal cord depending on its dose.
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