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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2016 Jul;36:7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.03.008. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Lithium attenuates lead induced toxicity on mouse non-adherent bone marrow cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Institute Of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Biochemistry, Institute Of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:
Department of Genetics, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran.


Lead is a poisonous heavy metal that occurs in all parts of environment and causes serious health problems in humans. The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible protective effect of lithium against lead nitrate induced toxicity in non-adherent bone marrow stem cells. Trypan blue and MTT assays represented that exposure of the cells to different concentrations of lead nitrate decreased viability in a dose dependent manner, whereas, pretreatment of the cells with lithium protected the cells against lead toxicity. Lead reduced the number and differentiation status of bone marrow-derived precursors when cultured in the presence of colony stimulating factor (CSF), while the effect was attenuated by lithium. The cells treated with lead nitrate exhibited cell shrinkage, DNA fragmentation, anion superoxide production, but lithium prevented lead action. Moreover, apoptotic indexes such as PARP cleavage and release of HMGB1 induced by lead, were protected by lithium, suggesting anti-apoptotic effect of lithium. Immunoblot analysis of histone H3K9 acetylation indicated that lithium overcame lead effect on acetylation. In conclusion, lithium efficiently reduces lead toxicity suggesting new insight into lithium action which may contribute to increased cell survival. It also provides a potentially new therapeutic strategy for lithium and a cost-effective approach to minimize destructive effects of lead on bone marrow stem cells.


Apoptosis; HMGB; Lead; Lithium; Non-adherent bone marrow cells; PARP

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