Chronic inorganic mercury exposure induces sex-specific changes in central TNFα expression: Importance in autism?

Tom Curtis, Yue Chen, Daniel J. Buck, Randall Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mercury is neurotoxic and increasing evidence suggests that environmental exposure to mercury may contribute to neuropathologies including Alzheimer's disease and autism spectrum disorders. Mercury is known to disrupt immunocompetence in the periphery, however, little is known about the effects of mercury on neuroimmune signaling. Mercury-induced effects on central immune function are potentially very important given that mercury exposure and neuroinflammation both are implicated in certain neuropathologies (i.e., autism). Furthermore, mounting evidence points to the involvement of glial activation in autism. Therefore, we utilized an in vivo model to assess the effects of mercury exposure on neuroimmune signaling. In prairie voles, 10 week mercury exposure (60ppm HgCl 2 in drinking water) resulted in a male-specific increase in TNFα protein expression in the cerebellum and hippocampus. These findings are consistent with our previously reported male-specific mercury-induced deficits in social behavior and further support a role for heavy metals exposure in neuropathologies such as autism. Subsequent studies should further evaluate the mechanism of action and biological consequences of heavy metals exposure. Additionally, these observations highlight the potential of neuroimmune markers in male voles as biomarkers of environmental mercury toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume504
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2011

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Autistic Disorder
Mercury
Arvicolinae
Heavy Metals
Immunocompetence
Social Behavior
Environmental Exposure
Neuroglia
Drinking Water
Cerebellum
Hippocampus
Alzheimer Disease
Biomarkers

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Environmental toxins
  • Heavy metals
  • Voles

Cite this

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title = "Chronic inorganic mercury exposure induces sex-specific changes in central TNFα expression: Importance in autism?",
abstract = "Mercury is neurotoxic and increasing evidence suggests that environmental exposure to mercury may contribute to neuropathologies including Alzheimer's disease and autism spectrum disorders. Mercury is known to disrupt immunocompetence in the periphery, however, little is known about the effects of mercury on neuroimmune signaling. Mercury-induced effects on central immune function are potentially very important given that mercury exposure and neuroinflammation both are implicated in certain neuropathologies (i.e., autism). Furthermore, mounting evidence points to the involvement of glial activation in autism. Therefore, we utilized an in vivo model to assess the effects of mercury exposure on neuroimmune signaling. In prairie voles, 10 week mercury exposure (60ppm HgCl 2 in drinking water) resulted in a male-specific increase in TNFα protein expression in the cerebellum and hippocampus. These findings are consistent with our previously reported male-specific mercury-induced deficits in social behavior and further support a role for heavy metals exposure in neuropathologies such as autism. Subsequent studies should further evaluate the mechanism of action and biological consequences of heavy metals exposure. Additionally, these observations highlight the potential of neuroimmune markers in male voles as biomarkers of environmental mercury toxicity.",
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Chronic inorganic mercury exposure induces sex-specific changes in central TNFα expression : Importance in autism? / Curtis, Tom; Chen, Yue; Buck, Daniel J.; Davis, Randall.

In: Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 504, No. 1, 17.10.2011, p. 40-44.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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