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Indian J Med Res. 2004 Feb;119(2):49-59.

Gut microflora & toxic metals: chromium as a model.

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Biomembrane Division, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow, India.

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The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is exposed to various environmental pollutants including metals, that contaminate food and water which may have toxic effects on body. GIT has large amount of microbes that live in symbiosis and help the host in different ways. The resident gut microflora have a significant role to play in detoxification and elimination of the harmful metals from the body. Chromium is a naturally occurring heavy metal found commonly in environment in trivalent (Cr III) and hexavalent (Cr VI) forms. Cr (VI) compounds have been shown to be potent occupational carcinogens. The reduction of Cr (VI) to Cr (III) results in the formation of reactive intermediates that together with oxidative stress and oxidative tissue damage, and a cascade of cellular events including modulation of apoptosis regulatory gene p53 contribute to the cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of Cr(VI)-containing compounds. The data discussed here with reference to chromium show that gut microflora have a marked capacity to cope with the increased load of ingested metals and may contribute significantly in the protection against metal toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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