Mercury compounds are known to cause central nervous system disorders; however the detailed molecular mechanisms of their actions remain unclear. Methylmercury increases the expression of several chemokine genes, specifically in the brain, while metallothionein-III (MT-III) has a protective role against various brain diseases. In this study, we investigated the involvement of MT-III in chemokine gene expression changes in response to methylmercury and mercury vapor in the cerebrum and cerebellum of wild-type mice and MT-III null mice. No difference in mercury concentration was observed between the wild-type mice and MT-III null mice in any brain tissue examined. The expression of Ccl3 in the cerebrum and of Cxcl10 in the cerebellum was increased by methylmercury in the MT-III null but not the wild-type mice. The expression of Ccl7 in the cerebellum was increased by mercury vapor in the MT-III null mice but not the wild-type mice. However, the expression of Ccl12 and Cxcl12 was increased in the cerebrum by methylmercury only in the wild-type mice and the expression of Ccl3 in the cerebellum was increased by mercury vapor only in the wild-type mice. These results indicate that MT-III does not affect mercury accumulation in the brain, but that it affects the expression of some chemokine genes in response to mercury compounds.
- Mercury vapor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Chemical Health and Safety