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Exp Brain Res. 2006 Aug;173(3):468-74. Epub 2006 Mar 22.

Increased uptake of divalent metals lead and cadmium into the brain after kainite-induced neuronal injury.

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Department of Anatomy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


An increase in iron level, number of iron positive cells and ferritin expression has been observed in the rat hippocampus after neuronal injury induced by the excitotoxin, kainate. This is accompanied by an increased expression of divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1) in the lesioned hippocampus, suggesting that the transporter may be partially responsible for the iron accumulation. DMT1 has a broad substrate range that includes other divalent metals such as lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), and the present study was carried out to elucidate the uptake of these metals in the kainate-injected brain. The technique of atomic absorption spectroscopy was used for analyses. Significantly higher lead and cadmium levels were detected in the hippocampus and other brain areas of intracerebroventricular kainate-injected rats treated with lead and cadmium in the drinking water, compared to intracerebroventricular saline-injected rats treated with lead and cadmium in the drinking water. Since very low levels of lead and cadmium are present in the normal animal, these results indicate increased uptake of lead and cadmium into brain areas as a result of the kainate injections. Increased iron levels were also detected in the hippocampus of the kainate-injected rats. The above results show increased uptake of divalent metals into brain areas undergoing neurodegeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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