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Exploring the kidney hazard of exposure to mercuric chloride in mice:Disorder of mitochondrial dynamics induces oxidative stress and results in apoptosis

Li, Siyu, Baiyun, Ruiqi, Lv, Zhanjun, Li, Jiayi, Han, Dongxu, Zhao, Wenyue, Yu, Lanjie, Deng, Ning, Liu, Zhiyan, Zhang, Zhigang
Chemosphere 2019 v.234 pp. 822-829
apoptosis, children, drinking water, eosin, heavy metals, kidneys, mercuric chloride, mercury, mice, mitochondria, oxidative stress, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, public health, signal transduction, toxic substances, ultrastructure
Mercury is one of the 10 toxic chemicals with major public health concerns. Continuous exposure to low levels of heavy metals including mercury is related to renal injury, especially in children. This study investigated the possible molecular mechanism of inorganic mercury-induced kidney injury. Twenty eight Kunming mice were divided into four groups (n = 7), and treated with 0, 20, 40, 80 mg/L mercuric chloride (HgCl2) in drinking water for 16 weeks respectively. All the HgCl2 exposure mice displayed different degrees of renal injury, which was diagnosed by hematoxylin and eosin stain, biochemical analysis, and ultrastructure examination. The treatment of HgCl2 inhibited the silent information regulator two ortholog 1 (Sirt1)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) signaling pathway and resulted the disorder of mitochondrial dynamics, as evidenced by the increasing expression of dynamin-related protein 1 and decreasing expression of mitofusin 2. Meanwhile, HgCl2 inhibited the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) axis. The abnormality of mitochondrial dynamics and the suppression of Nrf2 axis exacerbated oxidative stress, and then induced cell apoptosis. These findings demonstrated that the disorder of mitochondrial dynamics induced by HgCl2 activated oxidative stress, and further resulted in renal apoptosis through inhibiting the Sirt1/PGC-1α signaling pathway and the Nrf2 axis.