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Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 429–438 | Cite as

Antioxidants and metallothionein levels in mercury-treated mice

  • R. Brandão
  • F. W. Santos
  • M. Farina
  • G. Zeni
  • D. Bohrer
  • J. B. T. Rocha
  • C. W. Nogueira
Article

Abstract

Acute effects of mercury on mouse blood, kidneys, and liver were evaluated. Mice received a single dose of mercuric chloride (HgCl2, 4.6 mg/kg, subcutaneously) for three consecutive days. We investigated the possible beneficial effects of antioxidant therapy (N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and diphenyl diselenide (PhSe)2) compared with the sodium salt of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS), an effective chelating agent in HgCl2 exposure in mice. We also verified whether metallothionein (MT) induction might be involved in a possible mechanism of protection against HgCl2 poisoning and whether different treatments would modify MT levels and other toxicological parameters. The results demonstrated that HgCl2 exposure significantly inhibited δ-aminolevulinate dehydratase (δ-ALA-D) activity in liver and only DMPS treatment prevented the inhibitory effect. Mercuric chloride caused an increase in renal non-protein thiol groups (NPSH) and none of the treatments modified renal NPSH levels. Urea concentration was increased after HgCl2 exposure. NAC plus (PhSe)2 was partially effective in protecting against the effects of mercury. DMPS and (PhSe)2 were effective in restoring the increment in urea concentration caused by mercury. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activities and ascorbic acid levels were not modified after mercury exposure. Mercuric chloride poisoning caused an increase in hepatic and renal MT levels and antioxidant treatments did not modify this parameter. Our data indicated a lack of therapeutic effect of the antioxidants tested.

Keywords

mercuric chloride metallothionein selenium 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid N-acetylcysteine 

Abbreviations:

δ-ALA-D

δ-aminolevulinate dehydratase

ALT

alanine aminotransferase

AST

aspartate aminotransferase

DMPS

Sodium salt of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid

DMSO

dimethyl sulfoxide

GC

gas chromatography

GR

glutathione reductase

GSH

glutathione

HPLC

high-performance liquid chromatography

MDA

malondialdehyde

MT

metallothionein

NAC

N-acetylcysteine

NPSH

non-protein thiol groups

RBC

red blood cells

ROS

reactive oxygen species

SH

sulfhydryl

TBARS

thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Brandão
    • 1
  • F. W. Santos
    • 1
  • M. Farina
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Zeni
    • 1
  • D. Bohrer
    • 1
  • J. B. T. Rocha
    • 1
  • C. W. Nogueira
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Quimica, Centro de Ciencias Naturais e ExatasUniversidade Federal de Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Bioquímica, Centro de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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