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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(10), 12349-12366; doi:10.3390/ijms131012349
Article

Mercuric Compounds Induce Pancreatic Islets Dysfunction and Apoptosis in Vivo

1,†
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4,†
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 and
9,*
1 Department of Urology, China Medical University Hospital, and School of Medicine, China Medical University, No.2 Yuh-Der Rd., Taichung 404, Taiwan 2 Institute of Toxicology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No.1 Jen-Ai Rd., Section 1, Taipei 100, Taiwan 3 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Changhua Christian Hospital, No.135 Nanxiao St. Changhua City, Changhua County 500, Taiwan 4 Department of Occupational Safety and Health, College of Health Care and Management, Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan 5 Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, and Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10043, Taiwan 6 Department of Emergency, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taichung Branch, No. 66 Section 1, Fongsing Rd., Tanzih Township, Taichung 427, Taiwan 7 Department of Occupational Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua 500, Taiwan 8 Department of Physiology and Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, China Medical University, No.91 Hsueh-Shih Rd., Taichung 404, Taiwan 9 School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, No.91 Hsueh-Shih Rd., Taichung 404, Taiwan These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2012 / Revised: 2 September 2012 / Accepted: 17 September 2012 / Published: 26 September 2012
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Abstract

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is an environmental and industrial pollutant throughout the world. Mercury exposure leads to many physiopathological injuries in mammals. However, the precise toxicological effects of mercury on pancreatic islets in vivo are still unclear. Here, we investigated whether mercuric compounds can induce dysfunction and damage in the pancreatic islets of mice, as well as the possible mechanisms involved in this process. Mice were treated with methyl mercuric chloride (MeHgCl, 2 mg/kg) and mercuric chloride (HgCl2, 5 mg/kg) for more than 2 consecutive weeks. Our results showed that the blood glucose levels increased and plasma insulin secretions decreased in the mice as a consequence of their exposure. A significant number of TUNEL-positive cells were revealed in the islets of mice that were treated with mercury for 2 consecutive weeks, which was accompanied by changes in the expression of the mRNA of anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and Mdm-2) and apoptotic (p53, caspase-3, and caspase-7) genes. Moreover, plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels increased significantly in the mice after treatment with mercuric compounds for 2 consecutive weeks, and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the pancreatic islets also markedly increased. In addition, the mRNA expression of genes related to antioxidation, including Nrf2, GPx, and NQO1, were also significantly reduced in these islets. These results indicate that oxidative stress injuries that are induced by mercuric compounds can cause pancreatic islets dysfunction and apoptosis in vivo.
Keywords: mercuric compounds; pancreatic islets; oxidative stress; apoptosis mercuric compounds; pancreatic islets; oxidative stress; apoptosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Chen, K.-L.; Liu, S.-H.; Su, C.-C.; Yen, C.-C.; Yang, C.-Y.; Lee, K.-I.; Tang, F.-C.; Chen, Y.-W.; Lu, T.-H.; Su, Y.-C.; Huang, C.-F. Mercuric Compounds Induce Pancreatic Islets Dysfunction and Apoptosis in Vivo. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 12349-12366.

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