Cytotoxicity of inorganic mercury in murine T and B lymphoma cell lines: Involvement of reactive oxygen species, Ca2+ homeostasis, and cytokine gene expression

Sang Hyun Kim, Raghubir P. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal; exposure to mercury in humans and animals causes damage in several organs or systems including the immune system. To characterize the toxicity of mercury in the immune cells, the cytotoxic effects of inorganic mercury were studied in two distinct lymphoma lines, the murine T lymphoma (EL4) and B lymphoma (A20) cells. Mercury concentration-dependently decreased cell viability, membrane integrity, and proliferation in both EL4 and A20 cells. Mercury increased the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in both EL4 and A20 cells, and pretreatment with antioxidants reversed mercury-induced ROS generation. Pretreatment of cells with antioxidants N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and silymarin decreased mercury-induced lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release in both types of cells; however, Ca2+ channel blocker lanthanum (La2+) decreased it only in A20 cells. The mode of cytotoxicity was a mixture of both apoptosis and necrosis. Mercury-induced apoptosis and necrosis in the two cell lines were indicated by staining with Hoechst 33258, propidium iodide, and co-staining with annexin V and propidium iodide. Both mercury-induced apoptosis and necrosis were attenuated by antioxidants. Mercury increased gene expression of IL-4 and TNFα in EL4 cells; these cytokines were not expressed in A20 cells. Data suggested different pathways of mercury-induced cytotoxicity in T and B lymphoma cells and involvement of ROS, Ca2+ homeostasis, and inflammatory cytokine gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • Mercury
  • Necrosis
  • ROS
  • Tumor necrosis factor

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