Special Issue "Heavy Metals Toxicology"


A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Wayne Briner
Department of Psychology, Ashford University, 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123 USA
E-Mail: wayne.briner@ashford.edu
Phone: +858 705 2294
Interests: neurotoxicology; heavy metals; teratology; behavioral teratology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Heavy metals such as lead and mercury continue to effect human and environmental health. Heavy metals not only persist in the environment but continue to be produced and released by mining, manufacturing and environmental processes. Human exposure persists and even expands as humankind develops more manufacturing and mining processes, encroaches on more land area, and develops uses for a wider variety of heavy metals. Progress has been made in understanding the toxicology of metals, prevention has been improved and treatment refined over the years.  Despite these advances more research needs to be done.

We invite contributors to this special issue of Toxics that will focus on heavy metal toxicology. We invite all papers addressing this problem.  Theoretical papers will also be considered. We especially encourage papers examining metal-metal interactions and pharmacologic treatment of heavy metal exposure.

Professor Dr. Wayne Briner
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • heavy metal
  • interactions
  • chelation
  • lead
  • mercury
  • treatment
  • molecular mechanisms
  • antagonist

Published Papers (1 paper)

Toxics 2014, 2(1), 50-78; doi:10.3390/toxics2010050
Received: 14 January 2014; in revised form: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 20 February 2014 / Published: 17 March 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Download PDF Full-text (877 KB) | Download XML Full-text

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Toxicity of glutathione-binding metals: a review of targets and mechanisms.
Author: Federico M. Rubino
Affiliation: LaTMA – Laboratory for Analytical Toxicology and Metabolomics, Department of Health Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano @ Ospedale San Paolo, v.Antonio di Rudinì 8, Milano, Italia
Abstract: Mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead are priority targets for toxicological studies due to the frequent human exposure and to the significant burden of disease following acute and chronic intoxication. Among their common characteristics is chemical affinity to proteins and non-protein thiols and their inability to generate cellular oxidative stress by the best-known Fenton mechanism. Their health effects are however diverse: kidney and liver damage, cancer at specific sites, irreversible neurological damages with metal-specific features. Mechanisms for the induction of oxidative stress by interaction with the cell thiolome will be presented, on the basis of literature evidence and of experimental findings.

Title: Interaction of toxic metal ions with neurotransmitter receptors and role in neurodegenerative diseases
Author: Carla Marchetti
Affiliation: Istituto di Biofisica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via De Marini, 6 16149, Genova, Italy
Abstract: There is increasing evidence that toxic metals play a role in diseases of unknown etiology including neurodegenerative diseases. Their action is often mediated by interaction with plasma membrane proteins, e in particular voltage-gated channels and neurotransmitter receptors. I will describe recent findings concerning the direct interaction of several metal ions with GABA and glutamate receptors in the mammal central nervous system and discuss implications for neurodegenerative diseases. An important target of toxic metal is the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NR), a glutamate receptor that plays a key role in synaptic plasticity and high brain functions. Overactivation of this receptor triggers a massive influx of calcium and results in excitotoxicity, a major cause of neuronal death in trauma and disease. Endogenous divalent metal ions permeate (Ca2+), functionally block the pore in a voltage-dependent manner (Mg2+), and modulate the NR function by allosteric voltage-independent inhibition (Zn2+), through a binding site located in the amino terminal domain (ATD), a large extracellular region present in all NR subunits. Exogenous metals interfere with NR function by mimicking these physiological ions. The effect of toxic metals can be classified as: (i) Mg-like, a voltage-dependent block mediated through a site located in the ionic pore (Ni2+ at > 0.1 mM); (ii) Zn-like, a voltage-independent inhibition mediated through a binding site located in the ATD, although not necessarily coincident with the Zn-binding site (Pb2+, Cd2+, Cu2+, and Ni2+ in GluN2A-containing receptors). Ni2+ also causes enhancement of the current in GluN2B-containing receptors, by interacting at a site in the ATD region and Cu2+ modulates the activity of NMDA receptor channels, blocking or enhancing the current as well as the Ca influx through the channels depending on the concentration. Both hyper and hypofunction of NMDA receptors are involved in neuro and psychotic syndromes and modulation by metal ions is an important pharmacological issue.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: An update and review of unconventional Metals Testing and Treatments
Authors: Stefanos N. Kales, Rose Goldman and Diana Felton
Abstract: Most patients who receive unconventional testing for metals do not have any remarkable exposure history and typically lack symptoms or objective findings compatible with classic heavy metal intoxications.
Unconventional tests results are usually promoted by alternative practitioners as the basis for recommending, promoting, and selling to the patient questionable and often inappropriate therapies/interventions supposedly aimed at "detoxification." Most of these patients will have no evidence of overexposure to metals on the basis of a thorough history and will have levels of metals on conventional tests performed at reliable laboratories that are undetectable or within background ranges for the general population.

Last update: 18 September 2013

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