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Mercury toxicity and DNA damage in patients with Down syndrome

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Abstract

Objective The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between exposure to mercury and DNA damage in children with Down syndrome (DS). Patients and methods Ninety-five Egyptian patients clinically diagnosed and cytogenetically proved to have nondisjunction trisomy 21 and 90 Egyptian healthy controls were recruited from the outpatient clinic of the Clinical Genetics Department, National Research Centre, Egypt. DNA damage was determined using the alkaline comet assay. Serum mercury levels were determined using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Results Mercury levels were significantly elevated in the DS group (mean ± SE 126.6 ± 9) compared with the control group (72 ± 2) (P r 0.05); moreover, there was a significant increase in the DNA damage levels in the DS group (60.6 ± 5.7) compared with the control group (3.2 ± 0.5) (P r 0.05). Pearson's correlation results showed positive significant correlation between mercury levels and DNA damage levels in DS patients (P r 0.05). Conclusion Our study suggested that mercury intoxication as well as oxidative stress may be biomarkers of toxicity in patients with DS.

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... The relationship between Hg exposure and APOE 4 has already been discussed in the text. El-Saeed et al. (2016) compared serum Hg concentration in DS patients (95 cases) from Egypt to their healthy counterparts (90 controls). It was revealed that the DS group had higher Hg levels in serum with significant damage to DNA (El-Saeed et al. 2016). ...
... El-Saeed et al. (2016) compared serum Hg concentration in DS patients (95 cases) from Egypt to their healthy counterparts (90 controls). It was revealed that the DS group had higher Hg levels in serum with significant damage to DNA (El-Saeed et al. 2016). It has been shown that DS patients have similar amounts of dental caries as their age-matched controls without DS (Moreira et al. 2016). ...
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... It is considered that most of the bacteria in these three phyla are anaerobes. Some scholars proposed that mercury poisoning would increase the formation of free radicals, inhibit the activity of GSH-Px, and thus inhibit the formation of oxygen [25]. Furthermore, mercury reduces the production of oxygen, reduces the content of oxygen in the intestinal tract, and increases the production of anaerobic bacteria. ...
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... Mercury: An Egyptian study found elevated serum mercury levels in the Down Syndrome group compared to a control group, and they had a significant increase in DNA damage [81]. ...
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... It is considered that Sporosarcina and Acinetobacter is aerobic bacteria, Jeotgailcoccus and Staphylococcus are obligate aerobes (oxygen reliant), or facultative anaerobes (having the ability to be aerobic or anaerobic), which are both associated with oxygen. Furthermore, Hg intoxication could lead to disturbed cellular function or biochemical damage which includes induction of free radical formation, and inhibition of activity glutathione peroxidase enzyme (GSH-Px) [41]. Therefore, the presence of Hg reduces oxygen production to a certain extent by inhibiting glutathione peroxidase activity, which may decrease the abundance of aerobic bacteria in our study, such as Sporosarcina, Acinetobacter, Sporosarcina, and Jeotgailcoccus. ...
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Molecular Genetic Pathology presents up-to-date material containing fundamental information relevant to the clinical practice of molecular genetic pathology. Part I examines the clinical areas of molecular biology, genomics, pharmacogenomics and proteomics, while Part II covers the molecular areas of medical genetics, microbiology, hematology, transfusion medicine, oncology and forensic pathology. The volume provides a unique reference for the practicing pathologist and medical geneticist as well as a review book for residents and fellows in training in pathology, medical genetics and molecular genetic pathology. © 2008 Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Post Minamata incident there has been awareness about mercury toxicity even among the general public. Previous researches contributed a vast amount of data regarding acute mercury exposure, but gradually information about the low dose [Ninomiya, T., Ohmori, H., Hashimoto, K., Tsuruta, K., Ekino, S., 1995. Expansion of methylmercury poisoning outside minamata: an epidemiological study on chronic methylmercury poisoninig outside of Minamata. Environ. Res. 70 (1) 47-50; Lebel, J., Mergler, D., Lucotte, M., Amorim, M., Dolbec, J., Miranda, D., Arantes, G., Rheault, I., Pichet, P., 1996. Evidence of early nervous system dysfunction in Amazonian populations exposed to low-levels of methylmercury. Neurotoxicology 17 (1) 157-167] of mercury toxicity has been trickling in. With mercury contaminating rain-, ground- and sea-water no one is safe. Polluted water leads to mercury laced fish, meat and vegetable. In aquatic environments, inorganic mercury is microbiologically transformed into lipophilic organic compound 'methylmercury'. This transformation makes mercury more prone to biomagnification in food chains. Consequently, populations with traditionally high dietary intake of food originating from fresh or marine environment have highest dietary exposure to mercury. Extensive research done on locals across the globe have already established this, persons who routinely consume fish or a particular species of fish are at an increased risk of methylmercury poisoning. The easy access of the toxicant to man through multiple pathways air, water, food, cosmetic products and even vaccines increase the exposure. Foetus and children are more susceptible towards mercury toxicity. Mothers consuming diet containing mercury pass the toxicant to foetus and to infants through breast milk. Decreased performance in areas of motor function and memory has been reported among children exposed to presumably safe mercury levels. Similarly, disruption of attention, fine motor function and verbal memory was also found in adults on exposure to low mercury levels. It is an occupational hazard for dental staff, chloralkali factory workers and goldminers, etc. Mercury has been found to be a causative agent of various sorts of disorders, including neurological, nephrological, immunological, cardiac, motor, reproductive and even genetic. Recently heavy metal mediated toxicity has been linked to diseases like Alzeihemer's, Parkinson's, Autism, Lupus, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, etc. Besides this, it poses danger to wildlife. Therefore, it becomes imperative to spread the information regarding the threat of mercury exposure amongst the scientists and masses.
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Acute or chronic mercury exposure can cause adverse effects during any period of development. Mercury is a highly toxic element; there is no known safe level of exposure. Ideally, neither children nor adults should have any mercury in their bodies because it provides no physiological benefit. Prenatal and postnatal mercury exposures occur frequently in many different ways. Pediatricians, nurses, and other health care providers should understand the scope of mercury exposures and health problems among children and be prepared to handle mercury exposures in medical practice. Prevention is the key to reducing mercury poisoning. Mercury exists in different chemical forms: elemental (or metallic), inorganic, and organic (methylmercury and ethyl mercury). Mercury exposure can cause acute and chronic intoxication at low levels of exposure. Mercury is neuro-, nephro-, and immunotoxic. The development of the child in utero and early in life is at particular risk. Mercury is ubiquitous and persistent. Mercury is a global pollutant, bio-accumulating, mainly through the aquatic food chain, resulting in a serious health hazard for children. This article provides an extensive review of mercury exposure and children's health.
Article
Dietary selenium (Se) status is inversely related to vulnerability to methylmercury (MeHg) toxicity. Mercury exposures that are uniformly neurotoxic and lethal among animals fed low dietary Se are far less serious among those with normal Se intakes and are without observable consequences in those fed Se-enriched diets. Although these effects have been known since 1967, they have only lately become well understood. Recent studies have shown that Se-enriched diets not only prevent MeHg toxicity, but can also rapidly reverse some of its most severe symptoms. It is now understood that MeHg is a highly specific, irreversible inhibitor of Se-dependent enzymes (selenoenzymes). Selenoenzymes are required to prevent and reverse oxidative damage throughout the body, particularly in the brain and neuroendocrine tissues. Inhibition of selenoenzyme activities in these vulnerable tissues appears to be the proximal cause of the pathological effects known to accompany MeHg toxicity. Because Hg's binding affinities for Se are up to a million times higher than for sulfur, its second-best binding partner, MeHg inexorably sequesters Se, directly impairing selenoenzyme activities and their synthesis. This may explain why studies of maternal populations exposed to foods that contain Hg in molar excess of Se, such as shark or pilot whale meats, have found adverse child outcomes, but studies of populations exposed to MeHg by eating Se-rich ocean fish observe improved child IQs instead of harm. However, since the Se contents of freshwater fish are dependent on local soil Se status, fish with high MeHg from regions with poor Se availability may be cause for concern. Further studies of these relationships are needed to assist regulatory agencies in protecting and improving child health.
Article
Down syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of all or part of human chromosome 21 (HSA21) and is the most common genetic cause of significant intellectual disability. In addition to intellectual disability, many other health problems, such as congenital heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, leukemia, hypotonia, motor disorders, and various physical anomalies occur at an elevated frequency in people with DS. On the other hand, people with DS seem to be at a decreased risk of certain cancers and perhaps of atherosclerosis. There is wide variability in the phenotypes associated with DS. Although ultimately the phenotypes of DS must be due to trisomy of HSA21, the genetic mechanisms by which the phenotypes arise are not understood. The recent recognition that there are many genetically active elements that do not encode proteins makes the situation more complex. Additional complexity may exist due to possible epigenetic changes that may act differently in DS. Numerous mouse models with features reminiscent of those seen in individuals with DS have been produced and studied in some depth, and these have added considerable insight into possible genetic mechanisms behind some of the phenotypes. These mouse models allow experimental approaches, including attempts at therapy, that are not possible in humans. Progress in understanding the genetic mechanisms by which trisomy of HSA21 leads to DS is the subject of this review.
Article
Mercuric compounds have been shown to alter several membrane-bound enzymes and associated receptor activities. The present studies were initiated to investigate the in vitro effects of mercuric chloride (HgCl2) and methylmercury chloride (CH3HgCl) on the uptake of [3H]dopamine (3HDA), [3H]norepinephrine (3HNE), and Na+, K+-ATPase in rat brain synaptosomes. Brain synaptosomes were prepared by the ficoll-sucrose gradient method from normal, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, weighing approx. 200 g. The effect of mercury on Na+, K+-ATPase was determined by using a coupled enzymatic method. Uptake of DA and NE by brain synaptosomes was determined by filtration in the presence and absence of 0-30 microM HgCl2 and 0-100 microM CH3HgCl. A parallel inhibition in the synaptosomal uptake of 3HDA and 3HNE, and the activity of the synaptosomal membrane Na+, K+-ATPase, was observed in both mercuric chloride and methylmercury treatments. The mercury compounds also significantly inhibited the mitochondrial ATPase (Mg2+-oligomycin-sensitive ATPase). The inhibitory influences of the toxins were concentration-dependent. The results suggest that the mercury compound mediated decrease in DA and NE uptake in brain synaptosomes may be related to the inhibition of Na+, K+-ATPase by the same toxins.
Article
Metallic compounds have been shown to contribute to environmental pollution. They are potential health hazards, and many cause neuropathies in man and animals. Their cytotoxic properties were investigated in an isolated cell system by exposing 11-day-old chick embryonic nervous tissues to various concentrations of the metallic compounds. Following a 72 h incubation period at 37°C, phase contrast and light microscopic observations were made on cellular growth (nerve fibres, neuroglia, cell bodies) and cellular migration, for abnormalities. Results indicated that all cell growth inhibition was dosedependent with its magnitude (to produce a half-maximal effect) ranging from severely toxic (10−6m or less) for Hg2+, Cd2+, As3+, and Vendex-Sn2+; moderately toxic (10−4 to 10−6m) for Tl1+, As5+, Se4+, and Cu2+, and slightly toxic (10−4 or greater) for Pb2+, As3+ (oxide), and Sn2+ (oxide). In all instances nerve fibres were more sensitive to metallic compounds than were neuroglia and cells. Subtoxic doses of some compounds caused increased neurite extension while others produced vacuolization. Other abnormalities included increased glial cell varicosities, granulation, decreased cellular migration and degenerative effects, especially at higher exposure levels. No correlation between cytotoxic effects of nerve fibres and glial cells could be established with acute or chronic animal toxicity, atomic weight or Periodic classification. The effects of metallic ions in vitro do not demonstra te nerve cell specificity as seen in vivo and a variety of mechanisms may be implicated in the cytotoxic action.
Article
Within the last decade, the comet assay has been used with increasing popularity to investigate the level of DNA damage in terms of strand breaks and alkaline labile sites in biomonitoring studies. The assay is easily performed on WBCs and has been included in a wide range of biomonitoring studies of occupational exposures encompassing styrene, vinyl chloride, 1,3-butadiene, pesticides, hair dyes, antineoplastic agents, organic solvents, sewage and waste materials, wood dust, and ionizing radiation. Eleven of the occupational studies were positive, whereas seven were negative. Notably, the negative studies appeared to have less power than the positive studies. Also, there were poor dose-response relationships in many of the biomonitoring studies. Many factors have been reported to produce effects by the comet assay, e.g., age, air pollution exposure, diet, exercise, gender, infection, residential radon exposure, smoking, and season. Until now, the use of the comet assay has been hampered by the uncertainty of the influence of confounding factors. We argue that none of the confounding factors are unequivocally positive in the majority of the studies. We recommend that age, gender, and smoking status be used as criteria for the selection of populations and that data on exercise, diet, and recent infections be registered before blood sampling. Samples from exposed and unexposed populations should be collected at the same time to avoid seasonal variation. In general, the comet assay is considered a suitable and fast test for DNA-damaging potential in biomonitoring studies.
Article
Superoxide dismutases (SODs) are involved in the protection of cells from oxygen toxicity. However, several papers have reported that the overexpression of CuZn-SOD causes oxidative damage to cells. We investigated a mechanism by which an excess of SODs accelerates oxidative stress. The presence of CuZn-SOD, Mn-SOD or Mn(II) enhanced the frequency of DNA damage induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and Cu(II), and altered the site specificity of the latter: H2O2 induced Cu(II)-dependent DNA damage with high frequency at the 5'-guanine of poly G sequences; when SODs were added, the frequency of cleavages at thymine and cytosine residues increased. SODs also enhanced the formation of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine by H2O2 and Cu(II). We conclude that SODs may increase carcinogenic risks, e.g. of tumors in Down syndrome.
Article
Amsacrine is an acridine derivative drug applied in haematological malignancies. It targets topoisomerase II enhancing the formation of a cleavable DNA-enzyme complex and leading to DNA fragmentation in dividing cancer cells. Little is known about other modes of the interaction of amsacrine with DNA, by which it could affect also normal cells. Using the alkaline comet assay, we showed that amsacrine at concentrations from the range 0.01 to 10 microM induced DNA damage in normal human lymphocytes, human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells lacking the p53 gene and murine pro-B lymphoid cells BaF3 expressing BCR/ABL oncogene measured as the increase in percentage tail DNA. The effect was dose-dependent. Treated cells were able to recover within a 120-min incubation. Amifostine at 14 mM decreased the level of DNA damage in normal lymphocytes, had no effect on the HL-60 cells and potentiated the DNA-damaging effect of the drug in BCR/ABL-transformed cells. Vitamin C at 10 and 50 microM diminished the extent of DNA damage in normal lymphocytes, but had no effect in cancer cells. Pre-treatment of the cells with the nitrone spin trap, N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone or ebselen, which mimics glutathione peroxidase, reduced the extent of DNA damage evoked by amsacrine in all types of cells. The cells exposed to amsacrine and treated with endonuclease III and 3-methyladenine-DNA glycosylase II, the enzymes recognizing oxidized and alkylated bases, respectively, displayed greater extent of DNA damage than those not treated with these enzymes. The results obtained suggest that free radicals may be involved in the formation of DNA lesions induced by amsacrine. The drug can also methylate DNA bases. Our results indicate that the induction of secondary malignancies should be taken into account as diverse side effects of amsacrine. Amifostine may potentate DNA-damage effect of amsacrine in cancer cells and decrease this effect in normal cells and Vitamin C can be considered as a protective agent against DNA damage in normal cells.
Article
Six chemicals, 2-halopropionic acids, thiophene, methylhalides, methylmercury, methylazoxymethanol (MAM) and trichlorfon (Fig. 1), that cause selective necrosis to the cerebellum, in particular to cerebellar granule cells, have been reviewed. The basis for the selective toxicity to these neurones is not fully understood, but mechanisms known to contribute to the neuronal cell death are discussed. All six compounds decrease cerebral glutathione (GSH), due to conjugation with the xenobiotic, thereby reducing cellular antioxidant status and making the cells more vulnerable to reactive oxygen species. 2-Halopropionic acids and methylmercury appear to also act via an excitotoxic mechanism leading to elevated intracellular Ca2+, increased reactive oxygen species and ultimately impaired mitochondrial function. In contrast, the methylhalides, trichlorfon and MAM all methylate DNA and inhibit O6-guanine-DNA methyltransferase (OGMT), an important DNA repair enzyme. We propose that a combination of reduced antioxidant status plus excitotoxicity or DNA damage is required to cause cerebellar neuronal cell death with these chemicals. The small size of cerebellar granule cells, the unique subunit composition of their N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, their low DNA repair ability, low levels of calcium-binding proteins and vulnerability during postnatal brain development and distribution of glutathione and its conjugating and metabolizing enzymes are all important factors in determining the sensitivity of cerebellar granule cells to toxic compounds.
Article
Exposure to toxic mercury (Hg) is a growing health hazard throughout the world today. Recent studies show that mercury exposure may occur in the environment, and increasingly in occupational and domestic settings. Children are particularly vulnerable to Hg intoxication, which may lead to impairment of the developing central nervous system, as well as pulmonary and nephrotic damage. Several sources of toxic Hg exposure in children have been reported in biomedical literature: (1) methylmercury, the most widespread source of Hg exposure, is most commonly the result of consumption of contaminated foods, primarily fish; (2) ethylmercury, which has been the subject of recent scientific inquiry in relation to the controversial pediatric vaccine preservative thimerosal; (3) elemental Hg vapor exposure through accidents and occupational and ritualistic practices; (4) inorganic Hg through the use of topical Hg-based skin creams and in infant teething powders; (5) metallic Hg in dental amalgams, which release Hg vapors, and Hg2+ in tissues. This review examines recent epidemiological studies of methylmercury exposure in children. Reports of elemental Hg vapor exposure in children through accidents and occupational practices, and the more recent observations of the increasing use of elemental Hg for magico-religious purposes in urban communities are also discussed. Studies of inorganic Hg exposure from the widespread use of topical beauty creams and teething powders, and fetal/neonatal Hg exposure from maternal dental amalgam fillings are reviewed. Considerable attention was given in this review to pediatric methylmercury exposure and neurodevelopment because it is the most thoroughly investigated Hg species. Each source of Hg exposure is reviewed in relation to specific pediatric health effects, particularly subtle neurodevelopmental disorders.
Article
Thimerosol is an antiseptic containing 49.5% ethyl mercury that has been used for years as a preservative in many infant vaccines and in flu vaccines. Environmental methyl mercury has been shown to be highly neurotoxic, especially to the developing brain. Because mercury has a high affinity for thiol (sulfhydryl (-SH)) groups, the thiol-containing antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), provides the major intracellular defense against mercury-induced neurotoxicity. Cultured neuroblastoma cells were found to have lower levels of GSH and increased sensitivity to thimerosol toxicity compared to glioblastoma cells that have higher basal levels of intracellular GSH. Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular GSH in both cell lines. Pretreatment with 100 microM glutathione ethyl ester or N-acetylcysteine (NAC), but not methionine, resulted in a significant increase in intracellular GSH in both cell types. Further, pretreatment of the cells with glutathione ethyl ester or NAC prevented cytotoxicity with exposure to 15 microM Thimerosal. Although Thimerosal has been recently removed from most children's vaccines, it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly, and to children in developing countries. The potential protective effect of GSH or NAC against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccinations.
Article
Besides the genetic, biochemical and neuropathological analogies between Down's syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), there is ample evidence of the involvement of oxidative stress (OS) in the pathogenesis of both disorders. The present paper reviews the publications on DS and AD in the past 10 years in light of the "gene dosage" and "two-hit" hypotheses, with regard to the alterations caused by OS in both the central nervous system and the periphery, and the main pipeline of antioxidant therapeutic strategies. OS occurs decades prior to the signature pathology and manifests as lipid, protein and DNA oxidation, and mitochondrial abnormalities. In clinical settings, the assessment of OS has traditionally been hampered by the use of assays that suffer from inherent problems related to specificity and/or sensitivity, which explains some of the conflicting results presented in this work. For DS, no scientifically proven diet or drug is yet available, and AD trials have not provided a satisfactory approach for the prevention of and therapy against OS, although most of them still need evidence-based confirmation. In the future, a balanced up-regulation of endogenous antioxidants, together with multiple exogenous antioxidant supplementation, may be expected to be one of the most promising treatment methods.
Article
Vitamin C, a reducing agent and antioxidant, is a cofactor in reactions catalyzed by Cu(+)-dependent monooxygenases and Fe(2+)-dependent dioxygenases. It is synthesized, in vertebrates having this capacity, from d-glucuronate. The latter is formed through direct hydrolysis of uridine diphosphate (UDP)-glucuronate by enzyme(s) bound to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, sharing many properties with, and most likely identical to, UDP-glucuronosyltransferases. Non-glucuronidable xenobiotics (aminopyrine, metyrapone, chloretone and others) stimulate the enzymatic hydrolysis of UDP-glucuronate, accounting for their effect to increase vitamin C formation in vivo. Glucuronate is converted to l-gulonate by aldehyde reductase, an enzyme of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily. l-Gulonate is converted to l-gulonolactone by a lactonase identified as SMP30 or regucalcin, whose absence in mice leads to vitamin C deficiency. The last step in the pathway of vitamin C synthesis is the oxidation of l-gulonolactone to l-ascorbic acid by l-gulonolactone oxidase, an enzyme associated with the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and deficient in man, guinea pig and other species due to mutations in its gene. Another fate of glucuronate is its conversion to d-xylulose in a five-step pathway, the pentose pathway, involving identified oxidoreductases and an unknown decarboxylase. Semidehydroascorbate, a major oxidation product of vitamin C, is reconverted to ascorbate in the cytosol by cytochrome b(5) reductase and thioredoxin reductase in reactions involving NADH and NADPH, respectively. Transmembrane electron transfer systems using ascorbate or NADH as electron donors serve to reduce semidehydroascorbate present in neuroendocrine secretory vesicles and in the extracellular medium. Dehydroascorbate, the fully oxidized form of vitamin C, is reduced spontaneously by glutathione, as well as enzymatically in reactions using glutathione or NADPH. The degradation of vitamin C in mammals is initiated by the hydrolysis of dehydroascorbate to 2,3-diketo-l-gulonate, which is spontaneously degraded to oxalate, CO(2) and l-erythrulose. This is at variance with bacteria such as Escherichia coli, which have enzymatic degradation pathways for ascorbate and probably also dehydroascorbate.
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