Date of Award

Winter 12-2022

Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Salvatore Blair

Committee Member

Kristi Westover

Committee Member

Laura Glasscock


Goldfish, Nanoparticles, Titanium Dioxide, TiO2, Polyacrylic Acid, PAA, Interlamellar Cell Mass, ILCM, Gills

Committee Member

Van Ortega


Fish gills are sensitive to a variety of environmental factors because they regulate the exchange of oxygen and ions between the fish and the external environment. This study examined the effects of polyacrylic acid (PAA) coated titanium dioxide nanoparticle injections (TiO2 NPs) on goldfish (Carassius auratus) over 14 days. Following the experimental period, we examined gill histological samples and looked for signs of an inflammatory response through blood glucose levels and relevant gene expression. TiO2 injected fish developed a more robust ILCM (interlamellar cell mass) compared to the non-injected controls, which remained elevated over 14 days post injection. Examination of blood glucose levels revealed no significant changes as a result of injections, although data trends did parallel some of the ILCM observations. Genetic analysis of socs3 and ifn-γ revealed that the ILCM elevation seen does not seem to be the direct result of expression changes to either of these specific genes, although ifn-γ expression was altered in the TiO2 injected individuals at day 14. Our data suggests that when in circulation, TiO2 nanoparticles and PAA capsules act as an internal triggers for gill remodeling in goldfish, but further investigation is required to fully elucidate the exact regulatory mechanism resulting in the observed ILCM development.


I want to thank the Winthrop University Research Council Grant Committee, for without their financial support, this project would not have been possible. I would also like to thank SC INBRE for their financial support. I want to thank James Schlott, Khalil Bohannan, and Joel Haley for their assistance in the project. I want to thank my thesis committee members: Dr. Westover, Dr. Glasscock, and Dr. Ortega for supporting me in this project. I would like to thank Dr. Blair for his support and guidance through this project.

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Patterson, Bryan Joel signed copyright agreement

Available for download on Tuesday, June 20, 2023