Environmental mercury exposure and selenium-associated biomarkers of antioxidant status at molecular and biochemical level. A short-term intervention study.

Affiliation

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Biological and Environmental Monitoring, 8 Teresy St, 91-348, Lodz, Poland. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a potent toxicant. In the field of public health a chronic-low-level environmental Hg exposure resulting from fish consumption in general population is still being discussed. The objective of the study was to assess the influence of real Hg exposure on biomarkers of selenium (Se) status and selected biomarkers of pro-oxidant/anti-oxidant effects in healthy men (n = 67) who participated in the short-term intervention study consisting in daily fish consumption for two weeks. The analysis included Se level, Se-associated antioxidants at molecular (profile of 7 genes encoding selected proteins related to antioxidant defense) and biochemical levels (Se-dependent glutathione peroxidases activities and plasma selenoprotein P concentration). A pro-oxidant/anti-oxidant balance was explored using a biomarker of plasma lipid peroxidation and total antioxidant activity. The study revealed significant correlations (p < 0.05) between the biomarkers of exposure to Hg, Se level and Se-dependent antioxidants. Even though the risk of adverse effects of Hg for volunteers was substantially low, biomarkers of Hg altered levels of circulation selenoproteins and their genes expression. Changes in genes expression during study differed between the main enzymes involved in two systems: downregulation of thioredoxin reductase1 and upregulation of glutathione peroxidases. Hg exposure caused imbalance between the biomarkers of pro-oxidant/anti-oxidant effects.

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