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Proteomic approach underlying the hippocampal neurodegeneration caused by low doses of methylmercury after long-term exposure in adult rats

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Abstract

Methylmercury (MeHg) is an important toxicant that causes cognitive dysfunctions in humans. This study aimed to investigate the proteomic and biochemical alterations of the hippocampus associated with behavioural consequences of low doses of MeHg in a long-term exposure model, and to realistically mimic in vivo the result of human exposure to this toxicant. Adult Wistar male rats were exposed to a dose of MeHg at 0.04 mg kg−1 day−1 by gavage for 60 days. Total mercury (Hg) content was significantly increased in the hippocampal parenchyma. The increase in the Hg levels was capable of reducing neuron and astrocyte cell density in the CA1, CA3, hilus and dentate gyrus regions, increasing both malondialdehyde and nitrite levels and decreasing antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals. The proteomic analysis detected 1041 proteins with altered expression due to MeHg exposure, including 364 proteins with no expression, 295 proteins with de novo expression and 382 proteins with up- or down-regulated expression. This proteomic approach revealed alterations in pathways related to chemical synapses, metabolism, amino acid transport, cell energy, neurodegenerative processes and myelin maintenance. Therefore, even at low doses of MeHg exposure, it is possible to cause hippocampal damage in adult rats at many organisational levels, triggering oxidative stress and proteome misbalance, featuring a neurodegenerative process and culminating in long- and short-term memory and learning deficits.

Graphical abstract: Proteomic approach underlying the hippocampal neurodegeneration caused by low doses of methylmercury after long-term exposure in adult rats

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Oct 2018, accepted on 23 Nov 2018 and first published on 26 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8MT00297E
Citation: Metallomics, 2019, Advance Article
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    Proteomic approach underlying the hippocampal neurodegeneration caused by low doses of methylmercury after long-term exposure in adult rats

    L. O. Bittencourt, A. Dionizio, P. C. Nascimento, B. Puty, L. K. R. Leão, D. A. Luz, M. C. F. Silva, L. L. Amado, A. Leite, M. R. Buzalaf, M. E. Crespo-Lopez, C. S. F. Maia and R. R. Lima, Metallomics, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8MT00297E

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