[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether exposure to small concentrations of lead alters blood pressure and vascular reactivity. Male Wistar rats were sorted randomly into the following two groups: control (Ct) and treatment with 100 ppm of lead (Pb), which was added to drinking water, for 30 days. Systolic blood pressure (BP) was measured weekly. Following treatment, aortic ring vascular reactivity was assessed. Tissue samples were properly stored for further biochemical investigation. The lead concentration in the blood reached approximately 8 μg/dL. Treatment increased blood pressure and decreased the contractile responses of the aortic rings to phenylephrine (1 nM-100 mM). Following N-nitro-L arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) administration, contractile responses increased in both groups but did not differ significantly between them. Lead effects on Rmax were decreased compared to control subjects following superoxide dismutase (SOD) administration. Catalase, diethyldithiocarbamic acid (DETCA), and apocynin increased the vasoconstrictor response induced by phenylephrine in the aortas of lead-treated rats but did not increase the vasoconstrictor response in the aortas of untreated rats. Tetraethylammonium (TEA) potentiated the vasoconstrictor response induced by phenylephrine in aortic segments in both groups, but these effects were greater in lead-treated rats. The co-incubation of TEA and catalase abolished the vasodilatory effect noted in the lead group. The present study is the first to demonstrate that blood lead concentrations well below the values established by international legislation increased blood pressure and decreased phenylephrine-induced vascular reactivity. The latter effect was associated with oxidative stress, specifically oxidative stress induced via increases in hydrogen peroxide levels and the subsequent effects of hydrogen peroxide on potassium channels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the cardiovascular effects of lead exposure, emphasising its direct action on myocardial contractility. Male Wistar rats were sorted randomly into two groups: control (Ct) and treatment with 100 ppm of lead (Pb) in the drinking water. Blood pressure (BP) was measured weekly. At the end of the treatment period, the animals were anaesthetised and haemodynamic parameters and contractility of the left ventricular papillary muscles were recorded. Blood and tissue samples were properly stored for further biochemical investigations. Statistical analyses were considered to be significant at p<0.05. The lead concentrations in the blood reached approximately 13 µg/dL, while the bone was the site of the highest deposition of this metal. BP in the Pb-treated group was higher from the first week of lead exposure and remained at the same level over the next four weeks. Haemodynamic evaluations revealed increases in systolic (Ct: 96±3.79 vs. Pb: 116±1.37 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (Ct: 60±2.93 vs. Pb: 70±3.38 mmHg), left ventricular systolic pressure (Ct: 104±5.85 vs. Pb: 120±2.51 mmHg) and heart rate (Ct: 307±10 vs. Pb: 348±16 bpm). Lead treatment did not alter the force and time derivatives of the force of left ventricular papillary muscles that were contracting isometrically. However, our results are suggestive of changes in the kinetics of calcium (Ca++) in cardiomyocytes increased transarcolemmal Ca++ influx, low Ca++ uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum and high extrusion by the sarcolemma. Altogether, these results show that despite the increased Ca++ influx that was induced by lead exposure, the myocytes had regulatory mechanisms that prevented increases in force, as evidenced in vivo by the increased systolic ventricular pressure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied the effects of the acute administration of small doses of lead over time on hemodynamic parameters in anesthetized rats to determine if myocardial contractility changes are dependent or not on the development of hypertension. Male Wistar rats received 320 µg/kg lead acetate iv once, and their hemodynamic parameters were measured for 2 h. Cardiac contractility was evaluated in vitro using left ventricular papillary muscles as were Na+,K+-ATPase and myosin Ca2+-ATPase activities. Lead increased left- (control: 112 ± 3.7 vs lead: 129 ± 3.2 mmHg) and right-ventricular systolic pressures (control: 28 ± 1.2 vs lead: 34 ± 1.2 mmHg) significantly without modifying heart rate. Papillary muscles were exposed to 8 µM lead acetate and evaluated 60 min later. Isometric contractions increased (control: 0.546 ± 0.07 vs lead: 0.608 ± 0.06 g/mg) and time to peak tension decreased (control: 268 ± 13 vs lead: 227 ± 5.58 ms), but relaxation time was unchanged. Post-pause potentiation was similar between groups (n = 6 per group), suggesting no change in sarcoplasmic reticulum activity, evaluated indirectly by this protocol. After 1-h exposure to lead acetate, the papillary muscles became hyperactive in response to a β-adrenergic agonist (10 µM isoproterenol). In addition, post-rest contractions decreased, suggesting a reduction in sarcolemmal calcium influx. The heart samples treated with 8 µM lead acetate presented increased Na+,K+-ATPase (approximately 140%, P < 0.05 for control vs lead) and myosin ATPase (approximately 30%, P < 0.05 for control vs lead) activity. Our results indicated that acute exposure to low lead concentrations produces direct positive inotropic and lusitropic effects on myocardial contractility and increases the right and left ventricular systolic pressure, thus potentially contributing to the early development of hypertension.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofisica ... [et al.]
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Environmental contamination has exposed humans to various metal agents, including mercury. This exposure is more common than expected, and the health consequences of such exposure remain unclear. For many years, mercury was used in a wide variety of human activities, and now, exposure to this metal from both natural and artificial sources is significantly increasing. Many studies show that high exposure to mercury induces changes in the central nervous system, potentially resulting in irritability, fatigue, behavioral changes, tremors, headaches, hearing and cognitive loss, dysarthria, incoordination, hallucinations, and death. In the cardiovascular system, mercury induces hypertension in humans and animals that has wide-ranging consequences, including alterations in endothelial function. The results described in this paper indicate that mercury exposure, even at low doses, affects endothelial and cardiovascular function. As a result, the reference values defining the limits for the absence of danger should be reduced.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · BioMed Research International
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heavy metals have been used in a wide variety of human activities that have significantly increased both professional and environmental exposure. Unfortunately, disasters have highlighted the toxic effects of metals on different organs and systems. Over the last 50 years, the adverse effects of chronic lead, mercury and gadolinium exposure have been underscored. Mercury and lead induce hypertension in humans and animals, affecting endothelial function in addition to their other effects. Increased cardiovascular risk after exposure to metals has been reported, but the underlying mechanisms, mainly for short periods of time and at low concentrations, have not been well explored. The presence of other metals such as gadolinium has raised concerns about contrast-induced nephropathy and, interestingly, despite this negative action, gadolinium has not been defined as a toxic agent. The main actions of these metals, demonstrated in animal and human studies, are an increase of free radical production and oxidative stress and stimulation of angiotensin I-converting enzyme activity, among others. Increased vascular reactivity, highlighted in the present review, resulting from these actions might be an important mechanism underlying increased cardiovascular risk. Finally, the results described in this review suggest that mercury, lead and gadolinium, even at low doses or concentrations, affect vascular reactivity. Acting via the endothelium, by continuous exposure followed by their absorption, they can increase the production of free radicals and of angiotensin II, representing a hazard for cardiovascular function. In addition, the actual reference values, considered to pose no risk, need to be reduced.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofisica ... [et al.]
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased cardiovascular risk after mercury exposure has been described but cardiac effects resulting from controlled chronic treatment are not yet well explored. We analyzed the effects of chronic exposure to low mercury concentrations on hemodynamic and ventricular function of isolated hearts. Wistar rats were treated with HgCl₂ (1st dose 4.6 μg/kg, subsequent dose 0.07 μg/kg/day, im, 30 days) or vehicle. Mercury treatment did not affect blood pressure (BP) nor produced cardiac hypertrophy or changes of myocyte morphometry and collagen content. This treatment: 1) in vivo increased left ventricle end diastolic pressure (LVEDP) without changing left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP) and heart rate; 2) in isolated hearts reduced LV isovolumic systolic pressure and time derivatives, and β-adrenergic response; 3) increased myosin ATPase activity; 4) reduced Na+-K+ ATPase (NKA) activity; 5) reduced protein expression of SERCA and phosphorylated phospholamban on serine 16 while phospholamban expression increased; as a consequence SERCA/phospholamban ratio reduced; 6) reduced sodium/calcium exchanger (NCX) protein expression and α-1 isoform of NKA, whereas α-2 isoform of NKA did not change. Chronic exposure for 30 days to low concentrations of mercury does not change BP, heart rate or LVSP but produces small but significant increase of LVEDP. However, in isolated hearts mercury treatment promoted contractility dysfunction as a result of the decreased NKA activity, reduction of NCX and SERCA and increased PLB protein expression. These findings offer further evidence that mercury chronic exposure, even at small concentrations, is an environmental risk factor affecting heart function.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic lead exposure causes hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Our purpose was to evaluate the effects of acute exposure to lead on arterial pressure and elucidate the early mechanisms involved in the development of lead-induced hypertension.
Wistar rats were treated with lead acetate (i.v. bolus dose of 320 µg/Kg), and systolic arterial pressure, diastolic arterial pressure and heart rate were measured during 120 min. An increase in arterial pressure was found, and potential roles of the renin-angiotensin system, Na(+),K(+)-ATPase and the autonomic reflexes in this change in the increase of arterial pressure found were evaluated. In anesthetized rats, lead exposure: 1) produced blood lead levels of 37±1.7 µg/dL, which is below the reference blood concentration (60 µg/dL); 2) increased systolic arterial pressure (Ct: 109±3 mmHg vs Pb: 120±4 mmHg); 3) increased ACE activity (27% compared to Ct) and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity (125% compared to Ct); and 4) did not change the protein expression of the α1-subunit of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase, AT(1) and AT(2). Pre-treatment with an AT(1) receptor blocker (losartan, 10 mg/Kg) or an ACE inhibitor (enalapril, 5 mg/Kg) blocked the lead-induced increase of arterial pressure. However, a ganglionic blockade (hexamethonium, 20 mg/Kg) did not prevent lead's hypertensive effect.
Acute exposure to lead below the reference blood concentration increases systolic arterial pressure by increasing angiotensin II levels due to ACE activation. These findings offer further evidence that acute exposure to lead can trigger early mechanisms of hypertension development and might be an environmental risk factor for cardiovascular disease.