Germanium intoxication with sensory ataxia.
ABSTRACT Sensory ataxia in inorganic germanium intoxication is rare. A 63-year-old housewife had taken inorganic germanium preparations at a dosage of 36 mg a day for about 6 years (total dose about 80 g). She subsequently developed difficulty in writing and gait disturbance with peripheral neuropathy and renal involvement. Germanium, which is not usually detected in the non-germanium user, was accumulated in her hair and nails, permitting a diagnosis of inorganic germanium intoxication. The peripheral neuropathy and renal injury were not reversible after discontinuing the preparation. Pneumonia and sepsis then supervened and the patient died. Autopsy findings showed degeneration and loss of the dorsal root ganglion cells and degeneration of the dorsal column of the spinal cord. Two previously reported cases presented with ataxia. These patients took germanium for long periods and/or large quantities like our case. It was supposed that sensory ataxia was induced by chronic and dose dependent toxicity of inorganic germanium.
- SourceAvailable from: clsawant.comJournal of Clinical Oncology 02/2001; 19(2):598. · 17.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The semiconductor element, germanium (Ge), is essential for the manufacture of modern integrated circuits. Because of its anti-tumor and immunomodulative effects, Ge-containing compounds are also used as health-promoting ingredients in food. However, some histological studies have shown the toxic effects of Ge-containing compounds on various organs, including the central nervous system. Even now, the effect of germanium on auditory system function is not completely clear. To clarify this question, brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) were applied to examine the effect of germanium dioxide (GeO(2)) on the ascending auditory pathway. Since the voltage-gated sodium channel is important to neuron activation and nerve conduction, the effect of GeO(2) on voltage-gated sodium channels was also examined. The result revealed GeO(2) elevated the BAEPs threshold dose-dependently. GeO(2) also prolonged latencies and interpeak latencies (IPLs) of BAEPs, but the amplitudes of suprathreshold intensities (90dB) did not show any obvious change. In addition, the results of whole cell patch clamp studies indicated GeO(2) reduced inward sodium current. These results suggest the toxic effect of GeO(2) on the conduction of the auditory system, and that inhibitory effect of GeO(2) on the voltage-gated sodium channels might play a role in GeO(2)-induced abnormal hearing loss.Toxicology 12/2008; 256(1-2):110-7. DOI:10.1016/j.tox.2008.11.009 · 3.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Germanium (Ge) is commonly used in the semiconductor industry as well as health-promoting and medical field. Biologically, germanium possesses erythropoietic, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, anti-amyloidosis, and immunomodulative effects. However, toxic effects of Ge-containing compounds on kidney, muscle, neuronal cells, and nerves have been reported. Mitochondrial dysfunction was found to be involved in the pathogenesis of GeO(2)-induced nephropathy and myopathy. Since it is well known that mitochondria play a major role in apoptosis triggered by many stimuli, an effort was made to examine whether the Ge-induced neurotoxicity occurs through mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. A mouse neuroblastoma cell line, Neuro-2A, was used in the present study. After incubating with 0.1-800microM of GeO(2) for 0-72h, the cell viability of Neuro-2A cells was inhibited in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Further analysis showed that aside from the changes in the nuclear morphology responsible for apoptosis, the release of cytochrome c, the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, the translocation of Bax, and the reduction of Bcl-2 expression were also observed in Neuro-2A cells after GeO(2) treatment. These results indicate that the mitochondria-mediated apoptosis is involved in this in vitro model of GeO(2)-induced neurotoxicity.NeuroToxicology 01/2007; 27(6):1052-63. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2006.05.018 · 3.05 Impact Factor