Allison W Dobson

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, MI, United States

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Publications (7)15.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, both pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing industries have expressed heightened interest in the potential applications of magnetic nanoparticles for therapeutic and technological purposes. Specifically, pharmaceutical companies seek to employ magnetic nanoparticles as carriers to facilitate effective drug delivery, especially in areas of the brain. Manufacturing industries desire to use these nanoparticles as ferrofluids and in magnetic resonance imaging. However, data concerning the effects of magnetic nanoparticles on the nervous system is limited. This study tested the hypotheses that nanoparticles can (1) inhibit adherence of astrocytes to culture plates and (2) cause cytotoxicity or termination of growth, both end points representing surrogate markers of neurotoxicity. Using light microscopy, changes in plating patterns were determined by visual assessment. Cell counting 4 days after plating revealed a significant decrease in the number of viable astrocytes in nanoparticle treated groups (p < 0.0001). To determine the cytotoxic effects of nanoparticles, astrocytes were allowed to adhere to culture plates and grow to maturity for 3 weeks before treatment. Membrane integrity and mitochondrial function were measured using colorimetric analysis lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and 3-[4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTS), respectively. Treatment with nanoparticles did not significantly alter astrocytic LDH release (p > 0.05) in the control group (100% +/- 1.56) vs the group receiving treatment (97.18% +/- 2.03). However, a significant increase in MTS activity (p < 0.05) between the control (100% +/- 3.65) and treated groups (112.8% +/- 3.23) was observed, suggesting astrocytic mitochondrial uncoupling by nanoparticles. These data suggest that nanoparticles impede the attachment of astrocytes to the substratum. However, once astrocytes attach to the substratum and grow to confluence, nanoparticles may cause mitochondrial stress.
    Biological Trace Element Research 01/2007; 120(1-3):248-56. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Manganese (Mn) is a ubiquitous and essential element that can be toxic at high doses. In individuals exposed to high levels of this metal, Mn can accumulate in various brain regions, leading to neurotoxicity. In particular, Mn accumulation in the mid-brain structures, such as the globus pallidus and striatum, can lead to a Parkinson's-like movement disorder known as manganism. While the mechanism of this toxicity is currently unknown, it has been postulated that Mn may be involved in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through interaction with intracellular molecules, such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, produced within mitochondria. Conversely, Mn is a required component of an important antioxidant enzyme, Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), while glutamine synthetase (GS), a Mn-containing astrocyte-specific enzyme, is exquisitely sensitive to oxidative stress. To investigate the possible role of oxidative stress in Mn-induced neurotoxicity, a series of inhalation studies was performed in neonatal and adult male and female rats as well as senescent male rats exposed to various levels of airborne-Mn for periods of time ranging from 14 to 90 days. Oxidative stress was then indirectly assessed by measuring glutathione (GSH), metallothionein (MT), and GS levels in several brain regions. MT and GS mRNA levels and regional brain Mn concentrations were also determined. The collective results of these studies argue against extensive involvement of ROS in Mn neurotoxicity in rats of differing genders and ages. There are, however, instances of changes in individual endpoints consistent with oxidative stress in certain brain tissues.
    NeuroToxicology 10/2006; 27(5):788-97. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies on Gulf War veterans with depleted uranium (DU) fragments embedded in their soft tissues have led to suggestions of possible DUinduced neurotoxicity. We investigated DU uptake into cultured rat brain endothelial cells (RBE4). Following the determination that DU readily enters RBE4 cells, cytotoxic effects were analyzed using assays for cell volume increase, heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) expression, 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol- 2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. The results of these studies show that uptake of the U3O8 uranyl chloride form of DU into RBE4 cells is efficient, but there are little or no resulting cytotoxic effects on these cells as detected by common biomarkers. Thus, the present experimental paradigm is rather reassuring and provides no indication for overt cytotoxicity in endothelial cells exposed to DU.
    Biological Trace Element Research 05/2006; 110(1):61-72. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurotoxicity linked to excessive brain manganese levels can occur as a result of high level Mn exposures and/or metabolic aberrations (liver disease and decreased biliary excretion). Increased brain manganese levels have been reported to induce oxidative stress, as well as alterations in neurotransmitter metabolism with concurrent neurobehavioral and motor deficits. Two putative mechanisms in which manganese can produce oxidative stress in the brain are: (1) via its oxidation of dopamine, and (2) interference with normal mitochondrial respiration. Measurements of antioxidant species (e.g., glutathione and metallothionein), and the abundance of proteins (enzymes) exquisitely sensitive to oxidation (e.g., glutamine synthetase) have been commonly used as biomarkers of oxidative stress, particularly in rat brain tissue. This paper examines the link between manganese neurotoxicity in the rat brain and common pathways to oxidative stress.
    Science of The Total Environment 01/2005; 334-335:409-16. · 3.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Juvenile female and male (young) and 16-mo-old male (old) rats inhaled manganese in the form of manganese sulfate (MnSO4) at 0, 0.01, 0.1, and 0.5 mg Mn/m3 or manganese phosphate at 0.1 mg Mn/m3 in exposures of 6 h/d, 5 d/wk for 13 wk. We assessed biochemical end points indicative of oxidative stress in five brain regions: cerebellum, hippocampus, hypothalamus, olfactory bulb, and striatum. Glutamine synthetase (GS) protein levels, metallothionein (MT) and GS mRNA levels, and total glutathione (GSH) levels were determined for all five regions. Although most brain regions in the three groups of animals were unaffected by manganese exposure in terms of GS protein levels, there was significantly increased protein (p<0.05) in the hippocampus and decreased protein in the hypothalamus of young male rats exposed to manganese phosphate as well as in the aged rats exposed to 0.1 mg/m3 MnSO4. Conversely, GS protein was elevated in the olfactory bulb of females exposed to the high dose of MnSO4. Statistically significant decreases (p<0.05) in MT and GS mRNA as a result of manganese exposure were observed in the cerebellum, olfactory bulb, and hippocampus in the young male rats, in the hypothalamus in the young female rats, and in the hippocampus in the senescent males. Total GSH levels significantly (p<0.05) decreased in the olfactory bulb of manganese exposed young male rats and increased in the olfactory bulb of female rats exposed to manganese. Both the aged and young female rats had significantly decreased (p<0.05) GSH in the striatum resulting from manganese inhalation. The old male rats also had depleted GSH levels in the cerebellum and hypothalamus as a result of the 0.1-mg/m3 manganese phosphate exposure. These results demonstrate that age and sex are variables that must be considered when assessing the neurotoxicity of manganese.
    Biological Trace Element Research 07/2004; 100(1):49-62. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    Allison W Dobson, Keith M Erikson, Michael Aschner
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    ABSTRACT: Manganese is an essential trace element and it is required for many ubiquitous enzymatic reactions. While manganese deficiency rarely occurs in humans, manganese toxicity is known to occur in certain occupational settings through inhalation of manganese-containing dust. The brain is particularly susceptible to this excess manganese, and accumulation there can cause a neurodegenerative disorder known as manganism. Characteristics of this disease are described as Parkinson-like symptoms. The similarities between the two disorders can be partially explained by the fact that the basal ganglia accumulate most of the excess manganese compared with other brain regions in manganism, and dysfunction in the basal ganglia is also the etiology of Parkinson's disease. It has been proposed that populations already at heightened risk for neurodegeneration may also be more susceptible to manganese neurotoxicity, which highlights the importance of investigating the human health effects of using the controversial compound, methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), in gasoline to increase octane. The mechanisms by which increased manganese levels can cause neuronal dysfunction and death are yet to be elucidated. However, oxidative stress generated through mitochondrial perturbation may be a key event in the demise of the affected central nervous system cells. Our studies with primary astrocyte cultures have revealed that they are a critical component in the battery of defenses against manganese-induced neurotoxicity. Additionally, evidence for the role of oxidative stress in the progression of manganism is reviewed here.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 04/2004; 1012:115-28. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eight-week-old rats inhaled manganese (Mn) in the form of MnSO4 at 0, 0.03, 0.3, or 3.0 mg Mn/m3 for 6 h/d for 7 d/wk (14 consecutive exposures). Brain manganese concentrations in these animals were reported by Dorman et al. in 2001, noting the following rank order: olfactory bulb > striatum > cerebellum. We assessed biochemical end points indicative of oxidative stress in these three brain regions, as well as the hypothalamus and hippocampus. Glutamine synthetase (GS) protein levels and total glutathione (GSH) levels were determined for all five regions. GS mRNA and metallothionein (MT) mRNA levels were also evaluated for the cerebellum, hypothalamus, and hippocampus. Statistically significant increases (p<0.05) in GS protein were observed in the olfactory bulb upon exposure to the medium and high manganese doses. In the hypothalamus, statistically significant (p<0.05) but more modest increases were also noted in the medium and high manganese dose. Total GSH levels significantly (p<0.05) decreased only in the hypothalamus (high manganese dose), and MT mRNA significantly increased in the hypothalamus (medium manganese dose). No significant changes were noted in any of the measured parameters in the striatum, although manganese concentrations in this region were also increased. These results demonstrate that the olfactory bulb and hypothalamus represent potentially sensitive areas to oxidative stress induced by exceedingly high levels of inhaled manganese sulfate and that other regions, and especially the striatum, are resistant to manganese induced oxidative stress despite significant accumulation of this metal.
    Biological Trace Element Research 01/2003; 93(1-3):113-26. · 1.31 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

303 Citations
15.42 Total Impact Points


  • 2007
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Center for Molecular Neuroscience
      Nashville, MI, United States
  • 2006–2007
    • Winston-Salem State University
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
  • 2005
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
      • Department of Nutrition
      Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 2003–2005
    • Wake Forest School of Medicine
      • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States