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Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Jan;54(1):375-391. doi: 10.1007/s12035-015-9643-y. Epub 2016 Jan 7.

Sulforaphane Prevents Methylmercury-Induced Oxidative Damage and Excitotoxicity Through Activation of the Nrf2-ARE Pathway.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, 110122, Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China.
2
Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, 110122, Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China. zfxu@mail.cmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a prominent environmental neurotoxicant, which induces oxidative damage and an indirect excitotoxicity caused by altered glutamate (Glu) metabolism. However, the interaction between oxidative damage and excitotoxicity in MeHg-exposed rats has not been fully recognized. Here, we explored the interaction between oxidative damage and excitotoxicity and evaluated the preventive effects of sulforaphane (SFN) on MeHg-induced neurotoxicity in rat cerebral cortex. Seventy-two rats were randomly assigned to four groups: control group, MeHg-treated groups (4 and 12 μmol/kg), and SFN pretreatment group. After treatment (28 days), the rats were killed and the cerebral cortex was analyzed. Then, Hg, glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), protein sulfhydryl, protein carbonyl, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), and the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptosis were examined. Glu and glutamine (Gln) levels, glutamine synthetase (GS), phosphate-activated glutaminase (PAG), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), Na+-K+-ATPase and Ca2+-ATPase activities, intracellular Ca2+ levels, and the mRNA and protein expressions of Nrf2, Nrf2-regulated gene products, and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) were investigated in rat cerebral cortex. In our study, MeHg exposure not only induced Hg accumulation, apoptosis, ROS formation, GSH depletion, inhibition of antioxidant enzyme activities, and activation of Nrf2-ARE pathway signaling but also caused lipid, protein, and DNA peroxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner in rat cerebral cortex. Moreover, MeHg treatment significantly altered Gln/Glu cycling and NMDAR expression and resulted in calcium overloading. Furthermore, the present study also indicated that SFN pretreatment significantly reinforced the activation of the Nrf2-ARE pathway, which could prevent the toxic effects of MeHg exposure. Collectively, MeHg initiates multiple additive or synergistic disruptive mechanisms that lead to oxidative damage and excitotoxicity in rat cerebral cortex; pretreatment with SFN might prevent the MeHg-induced neurotoxicity by reinforcing the activation of the Nrf2-ARE pathway and then downregulating the interaction between oxidative damage and excitotoxicity pathways.

KEYWORDS:

Excitotoxicity; Methylmercury; Nrf2-ARE pathway; Oxidative damage; Sulforaphane

PMID:
26742517
DOI:
10.1007/s12035-015-9643-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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