[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mercury is an important source of environmental contamination affecting human beings throughout the world and especially in the Amazon. Riverside populations have been chronically exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury for many years. Long-term effects of mercury exposure are not well known, but human genotoxicity was already showed in both in vitro and epidemiological studies. However, to date, only two studies were carried out in Amazonian populations with conflicting results and without comparing to a non-exposed population. Aiming to highlight this question and avoid interference factors, this work analyzed in vitro genotoxicity of mercury in blood lymphocytes of Amazonian individuals by two methods (micronucleus and chromosomal aberrations). Deleterious effects of low levels (1-500 μg/l or 0,004-2 μM) of methylmercury were only detected with the method to detect chromosomal aberrations. Mitotic index (proportion of cells in metaphase) was the parameter most sensible. Thus, this technique was applied for the analysis of an Amazonian non-exposed population (Panacauera) with similar social-economical characteristics of the exposed populations studied elsewhere. The mean of the mitotic index for Panacauera population was 0.0814 ± 0.0097. Inter-individual variability of this index had no relation with sex or age. This value was above those registered for some groups of exposed populations. This fact points to mercury as the main responsible for inhibiting the cell cycle and/or the loss of proliferative capacity of the cells. These results already support mitotic index as an essential parameter for the early diagnose of mercury genotoxicity in humans, and especially in Amazonian populations.
Environment international 01/2011; 37(1):136-41. · 4.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The antiproliferative effect of julocrotine, an alkaloid isolated from Croton pullei var. glabrior (Euphorbiaceae), was studied in the macrophage amastigote and promastigote stages of the protozoan Leishmania (L.) amazonensis, which causes cutaneous leishmaniasis in the New World. Julocrotine showed a dose-dependent effect against the amastigote and promastigote forms, where 79 μM julocrotine inhibited promastigote growth by 54%, with an IC50 of 67 μM. To analyze the antiamastigote activity of the drug, murine peritoneal macrophages infected with L. amazonensis promastigotes were treated with different concentrations of julocrotine. An 80% inhibition of amastigote development was observed using 79 μM julocrotine for 72 h, with an IC50 of 19.8 μM. In addition, ultrastructural observation of the parasites showed a significant reduction in the number of amastigotes in the parasitophorous vacuoles and morphological changes in promastigotes, such as swelling of the mitochondrion, chromatin condensation, presence of membranous structures near the Golgi complex, and some vesicle bodies in the flagellar pocket. A colorimetric assay (MTT), which measures cytotoxic metabolic activity, showed that macrophages maintain their viability after treatment with the drug. These results suggest that julocrotine effectively inhibits the growth of parasites and does not have any cytototoxic effects on the host cell.
Parasitology Research 10/2010; 107(5):1075-81. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mercury compounds versatility explains their numerous applications in diverse areas of industry. The growing use of this metal has resulted in a significant increase of environment contamination and episodes of human intoxication, arousing the concern of international organisms. Meanwhile, consequences of these intoxication outbreaks are still not fully understood, especially if we consider long-term effects of chronic exposure to relatively low levels of mercury compounds. In the present manuscript, studies about the genotoxicity of mercury compounds, performed in vitro, in vivo, and/or including epidemiologic studies of human populations were reviewed. Some mercury compounds are known as teratogenic agents, especially affecting the normal development of the central nervous system; however, the connection between mercury exposure and carcinogenesis remains controversial. Since 1990s, epidemiological studies have begun to include an increasing number of human subjects, making the results more reliable: thus, increased genotoxicity was demonstrated in human populations exposed to mercury through diet, occupation or by carrying dental fillings. In fact, concentrations of methylmercury causing significant genotoxic alterations in vitro below both safety limit and concentration were associated with delayed psychomotor development with minimal signs of methylmercury poisoning. Based on mercury's known ability to bind sulfhydryl groups, several hypotheses were raised about potential molecular mechanisms for the metal genotoxicity. Mercury may be involved in four main processes that lead to genotoxicity: generation of free radicals and oxidative stress, action on microtubules, influence on DNA repair mechanisms and direct interaction with DNA molecules. All data reviewed here contributed to a better knowledge of the widespread concern about the safety limits of mercury exposure.
Pharmacological Research 04/2009; 60(4):212-20. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurotoxicity induced by methylmercury (MeHg) increases the formation of reactive radicals and accelerates free radical reactions. This review summarizes recent findings in the MeHg-induced formation of free radicals and the role of oxidative stress in its neurotoxicity. Oxidative stress on CNS can produce damage by several interacting mechanisms, including mitochondrial damage with increase in intracellular free Ca(2+), activation and inhibition of enzymes, release of excitatory amino acids, metallothioneins expression, and microtubule disassembly. The nature of antioxidants is discussed and it is suggested that antioxidant enzymes and others antioxidants molecules may protect the central nervous system against neurotoxicity caused by MeHg.
The Indian journal of medical research 11/2008; 128(4):373-82. · 2.06 Impact Factor