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Toxicol In Vitro. 2008 Sep;22(6):1469-75. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2008.04.021. Epub 2008 May 10.

Changes of heavy metal, metallothionein and heat shock proteins in Sertoli cells induced by cadmium exposure.

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School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Gunma University, 3-39-15 Shouwa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.


In this study, we examined the levels of Cadmium (Cd), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn), which were considered to be involved in Sertoli cell damage caused by Cd exposure. We also examined metallothionein (MT), heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expressions in Sertoli cells induced by Cd exposure. Evaluation by the in-air micro-particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE) method revealed that Cd and Fe distribution was increased in the cytoplasm of Sertoli cells after Cd exposure. By contrast, Zn was decreased in the cytoplasm of Sertoli cells after Cd exposure. It was suggested that the target of Cd toxicity was the cytoplasm of Sertoli cells, Fe was considered to enhance damage to Sertoli cells caused by Cd exposure. The DNA fragmentation rate was determined by ELISA after Cd exposure to Sertoli cells. It remained essentially unchanged with 2.5 microM Cd exposure of Sertoli cells; however, MT, Hsp70 and HO-1 were significantly increased by Cd exposure. As a result, Cd-induced MT was protected Sertoli cells against apoptosis, and Cd-induced HO-1 was involved in protection against oxidative stress. Incidentally, MT, Hsp70 and HO-1 showed similar responses to Cd exposure.

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