Disruption of calreticulin-mediated cellular adhesion signaling in the cadmium-induced omphalocele in the chick model

  • Takashi Doi
  • Prem PuriEmail author
  • John Bannigan
  • Jennifer Thompson
Original Article



Administration of cadmium (Cd) causes omphalocele in the chick embryo. The earliest histological changes in the chick Cd model are the breakdown of adherens junctions (AJs). Calreticulin (CRT) plays a key role in Ca2+ signaling and cell adhesion. Ca2+ signaling in the Cd chick model is known to be altered. The calcium-dependent adhesion molecule, E-cadherin, and its associate, β-catenin, are key components of AJs regulated by CRT. CRT knockouts display omphalocele. We hypothesized that CRT, E-cadherin and β-catenin are downregulated during early embryogenesis in the Cd chick model.


After 60 h (H) incubation, chicks were harvested 1H, 4H, and 8H post treatment with saline or Cd and divided into controls and Cd. RT-PCR was performed to evaluate mRNA levels of CRT, E-cadherin and β-catenin in the Cd chick model.


The mRNA levels of CRT were significantly decreased in the Cd group at 1H compared to controls (p < 0.05). The mRNA levels of E-cadherin and β-catenin were significantly decreased at 4H in the Cd group compared to controls (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences at 8H.


Downregulation of CRT, E-cadherin and β-catenin genes may cause omphalocele in the Cd chick model by disrupting CRT-mediated Ca2+ signaling and AJs.


Calreticulin E-Cadherin β-Catenin Cadmium Omphalocele 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Doi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Prem Puri
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • John Bannigan
    • 2
  • Jennifer Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.The Children’s Research CentreOur Lady’s Children’s HospitalDublin 12Ireland
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Medical Science, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical ResearchUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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