Maternal thimerosal exposure results in aberrant cerebellar oxidative stress, thyroid hormone metabolism, and motor behavior in rat pups; sex- and strain-dependent effects.

Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
The Cerebellum (Impact Factor: 2.6). 10/2011; 11(2):575-86. DOI: 10.1007/s12311-011-0319-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Methylmercury (Met-Hg) and ethylmercury (Et-Hg) are powerful toxicants with a range of harmful neurological effects in humans and animals. While Met-Hg is a recognized trigger of oxidative stress and an endocrine disruptor impacting neurodevelopment, the developmental neurotoxicity of Et-Hg, a metabolite of thimerosal (TM), has not been explored. We hypothesized that TM exposure during the perinatal period impairs central nervous system development, and specifically the cerebellum, by the mechanism involving oxidative stress. To test this, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) or Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat dams were exposed to TM (200 μg/kg body weight) during pregnancy (G10-G15) and lactation (P5-P10). Male and female neonates were evaluated for auditory and motor function; cerebella were analyzed for oxidative stress and thyroid metabolism. TM exposure resulted in a delayed startle response in SD neonates and decreased motor learning in SHR male (22.6%), in SD male (29.8%), and in SD female (55.0%) neonates. TM exposure also resulted in a significant increase in cerebellar levels of the oxidative stress marker 3-nitrotyrosine in SHR female (35.1%) and SD male (14.0%) neonates. The activity of cerebellar type 2 deiodinase, responsible for local intra-brain conversion of thyroxine to the active hormone, 3',3,5-triiodothyronine (T3), was significantly decreased in TM-exposed SHR male (60.9%) pups. This coincided with an increased (47.0%) expression of a gene negatively regulated by T3, Odf4 suggesting local intracerebellar T3 deficiency. Our data thus demonstrate a negative neurodevelopmental impact of perinatal TM exposure which appears to be both strain- and sex-dependent.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous clinical condition whose prevalence has grown considerably during the last decade. Genetic factors are thought to underpin the disorder, but common genetic variants and epigenetic mechanisms have been increasingly called into question for the majority of ASD cases. Growing prenatal exposure to new environmental toxicants has been shown to potentially affect brain development, leading to altered cognitive, social, attentive, behavioral, and motor performance. Both epidemiological evidence and mechanistic studies assessing oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, epigenetic alterations, and impaired signal transduction, all observed following neurotoxicant exposure, indeed lend biological plausibility to Gene x Environment interactions, whereby environmental toxicants interacting additively or synergistically with genetic liability, can push prenatal neurodevelopmental processes over the threshold for postnatal ASD expression. Research on environmental contributions to ASD and on specific Gene x Environment interaction models ultimately aims at defining targeted preventive strategies.
    Current Developmental Disorders Reports. 03/2014; 1(1).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Within the fi rst 3 years of life, the brain develops rapidly. Its development is characterized by critical developmental periods for speech, vision, hearing, language, balance, etc.; and alteration in any of the processes occurring in those critical periods can lead to specific delays in development. Aims: The present study evaluated the potential toxic effects of organic-mercury exposure from Thimerosal (49.55% mercury by weight) in childhood vaccines and its hypothesized possible relationship with specific delays in development. Materials and Methods: A hypothesis testing case-control study was undertaken to evaluate the relationship between exposure to Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines administered at specific intervals in the first 6 months among cases diagnosed with specific delays in development and controls born between 1991-2000, utilizing data in the Vaccine Safety Datalink database. Results: Cases were significantly more likely than controls to have received increased organic-mercury from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine administered in the first, second, and sixth month of life. Conclusion: Though routine childhood vaccination may be an important public health tool to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases, the present study supports an association between increasing organic-mercury exposure from Thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and the subsequent risk of specifi c delays in development among males and females.
    North American Journal of Medical Sciences. 10/2014; 6(10):519-531.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thimerosal is an organic mercury (Hg)-containing compound (49.55 % Hg by weight) historically added to many multi-dose vials of vaccine as a preservative. A hypothesis testing case-control study evaluated automated medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) for organic Hg exposure from Thimerosal in Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)-containing vaccines administered at specific times within the first 15 months of life among subjects diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) (n = 534) in comparison to controls. The generally accepted biologically non-plausible linkage between Thimerosal exposure and subsequent diagnosis of febrile seizure (n = 5886) was examined as a control outcome. Cases diagnosed with PDD received significantly more organic Hg within the first 6 months of life (odds ratio (OR) = 1.97, p < 0.001) and first 15 months of life (OR = 3.94, p < 0.0001) than controls, whereas cases diagnosed with febrile seizure were no more likely than controls to have received increased organic Hg. On a per microgram of organic Hg basis, cases diagnosed with a PDD in comparison to controls were at significantly greater odds (OR = 1.0197, p < 0.0001) of receiving increasing organic Hg exposure within the first 15 months of life, whereas cases diagnosed febrile seizure were no more likely than controls (OR = 0.999, p > 0.20) to have received increasing organic Hg exposure within the first 15 months of life. Routine childhood vaccination is an important public health tool to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases, but the present study provides new epidemiological evidence of a significant relationship between increasing organic Hg exposure from Thimerosal-containing vaccines and the subsequent risk of PDD diagnosis in males and females.
    Biological Trace Element Research 02/2015; 163(1-2):28-38. · 1.61 Impact Factor