Experiments were performed to assess the neurotoxic effects induced by prenatal acute treatment with methylmercury on cortical neurons. To this purpose, primary neuronal cultures were obtained from cerebral cortex of neonatal rats born to dams treated with methylmercury (4 and 8mg/kg by gavage) on gestational day 15, the developmental stage critical for cortical neuron proliferation. Prenatal exposure to methylmercury 8mg/kg significantly reduced cell viability and caused either apoptotic or necrotic neuronal death. Moreover, this exposure level resulted in abnormal neurite outgrowth and retraction or collapse of some neurites, caused by a dissolution of microtubules. The severe and early cortical neuron damage induced by methylmercury 8mg/kg treatment correlated with long term memory impairment, since adult rats (90 days of age) born to dams treated with this dose level showed a significant deficit in the retention performance when subjected to a passive avoidance task. Prenatal exposure to methylmercury 4mg/kg significantly increased the neuronal vulnerability to a neurotoxic insult. This was determined by measuring the increment of chromatin condensation induced by glutamate, at a concentration (30muM) able to induce an excitotoxic damage. This exposure level eliciting apoptotic death did not result in cognitive dysfunctions. In conclusion, the methylmercury-induced disruption of glutamate pathway during critical windows of brain development may interfere with cell fate and proliferation resulting in a more or less severe cortical lesions associated or not with loss of function later in life, depending on the exposure levels. Therefore, the early biochemical effects and long-term behavioral changes elicited by high methylmercury levels suggest that the developing brain is impaired in its ability to recover following toxic insult, and the initial effects on cortical neurons may lead to permanent cognitive dysfunctions.

Developmental exposure to methylmercury elicits early cell death in the cerebral cortex and long-term memory deficits in the rat.

FERRARO, Luca Nicola;TOMASINI, Maria Cristina;TANGANELLI, Sergio;ANTONELLI, Tiziana
2009

Abstract

Experiments were performed to assess the neurotoxic effects induced by prenatal acute treatment with methylmercury on cortical neurons. To this purpose, primary neuronal cultures were obtained from cerebral cortex of neonatal rats born to dams treated with methylmercury (4 and 8mg/kg by gavage) on gestational day 15, the developmental stage critical for cortical neuron proliferation. Prenatal exposure to methylmercury 8mg/kg significantly reduced cell viability and caused either apoptotic or necrotic neuronal death. Moreover, this exposure level resulted in abnormal neurite outgrowth and retraction or collapse of some neurites, caused by a dissolution of microtubules. The severe and early cortical neuron damage induced by methylmercury 8mg/kg treatment correlated with long term memory impairment, since adult rats (90 days of age) born to dams treated with this dose level showed a significant deficit in the retention performance when subjected to a passive avoidance task. Prenatal exposure to methylmercury 4mg/kg significantly increased the neuronal vulnerability to a neurotoxic insult. This was determined by measuring the increment of chromatin condensation induced by glutamate, at a concentration (30muM) able to induce an excitotoxic damage. This exposure level eliciting apoptotic death did not result in cognitive dysfunctions. In conclusion, the methylmercury-induced disruption of glutamate pathway during critical windows of brain development may interfere with cell fate and proliferation resulting in a more or less severe cortical lesions associated or not with loss of function later in life, depending on the exposure levels. Therefore, the early biochemical effects and long-term behavioral changes elicited by high methylmercury levels suggest that the developing brain is impaired in its ability to recover following toxic insult, and the initial effects on cortical neurons may lead to permanent cognitive dysfunctions.
Ferraro, Luca Nicola; Tomasini, Maria Cristina; Tanganelli, Sergio; Mazza, R; Coluccia, A; Carratù, Mr; Gaetani, S; Cuomo, V; Antonelli, Tiziana
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/533857
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 35
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 30
social impact