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In situ different antioxidative systems contribute to the site-specific methylmercury neurotoxicity in mice

Fujimura, Masatake, Usuki, Fusako
Toxicology 2017
animal models, cerebral cortex, enzyme activity, glutathione peroxidase, glycerol, hippocampus, immunohistochemistry, mercury, messenger RNA, methylmercury compounds, mice, neurons, neurotoxicity, oxidative stress, poisoning, proteins, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, superoxide dismutase, thymidine
Methylmercury (MeHg), an environmental toxicant, induces site-specific neurotoxicity in adult human and animal models. In this study, we demonstrated that MeHg-induced neuropathological changes of the brain in mice were remarkable in the cerebrocortical neurons of deeper layers (dl-CCNs), but not in the CCNs of shallow layers (sl-CCNs) and the hippocampal neurons of cornu ammonis 1 (CA1-HNs). Total mercury concentration was not corresponded to the pathological changes. Here, we investigated the cause of such site-specific MeHg neurotoxicity with a focus on in situ antioxidative systems due to its critical role in MeHg intoxication. We performed in situ analyses of antioxidative enzymes expression using RT-qPCR analyses from laser microdissected sl-CCNs, dl-CCNs, and CA1-HNs samples, and immunohistochemistry. The results of antioxidative enzymes expression analyses demonstrated the lowest basal expression levels of mRNA and proteins, especially manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1) in dl-CCNs. In addition, the Mn-SOD expression showed a lowest response to MeHg in dl-CCNs. We also performed enzymatic activity analyses for antioxidative enzymes using separated cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The results of enzymatic activity analyses indicate that the expression levels of antioxidative enzymes reflect their enzymatic activities. Immunostaining of thymidine glycerol, a sensitive oxidative stress marker, showed selectively increased expression in dl-CCNs after the exposure to MeHg but not in sl-CCNs and CA1-HNs, suggesting the occurrence of MeHg-induced oxidative stress in dl-CCNs. The differences in MeHg-induced occurrence of oxidative stress and pathological changes in sl-CCNs, dl-CCNs, and CA1-HNs corresponded to the basal level of Mn-SOD and GPx1 expression and the different protective response of Mn-SOD expression to MeHg. These findings suggest that the in situ different antioxidative systems play a role in the site-specific neurotoxicity of MeHg.