Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Cincinnati Researchers Discover Gene That Causes Heavy Metal Poisoning

Date:
February 21, 2005
Source:
University Of Cincinnati
Summary:
A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) has identified the gene responsible for spreading the poisonous (toxic) effects of cadmium--a finding, say the researchers, that may one day lead to the prevention of cadmium toxicity in humans.

CINCINNATI -- A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) has identified the gene responsible for spreading the poisonous (toxic) effects of cadmium--a finding, say the researchers, that may one day lead to the prevention of cadmium toxicity in humans.

Cadmium--a heavy metal suspected of causing human birth defects, lung cancer and testicular cancer--is found in cigarette smoke, some shellfish and seafood, soil and some plants. It is known to damage the human central nervous system, the kidneys, lungs and developing embryos.

The UC researchers, studying low doses of cadmium in mice, found that the gene Slc39a8 works to transport cadmium to the testes, causing tissue to die.

The study, led by Daniel W. Nebert, MD, professor in UC's Department of Environmental Health and researcher at the Center for Environmental Genetics, will appear in the March 1, 2005 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"We suspect that cadmium at higher doses could be transported to other regions of the body via the Slc39a8 gene or another gene in this family," says Dr. Nebert. "We know that humans carry the same gene and gene family. Thus, we have identified a target that could be used to prevent cadmium's toxic effects in human populations."

This is especially important, says Dr. Nebert, for many Third World countries. When populations are malnourished or have iron-deficient anemia, the damaging effects of cadmium increase dramatically.

Humans need certain essential metals--including zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, cobalt and manganese--for normal metabolism and biological processes.

Industrialization, however, has introduced many nonessential heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, silver, mercury, nickel, arsenic and chromium into the environment.

In the 1920s, UC researchers determined that exposure to lead (a nonessential heavy metal) in gasoline resulted in birth defects, mental retardation, loss of balance and other brain, kidney, liver or lung damage. Since then, there have been many studies on heavy metal toxicity, but until now no study has determined how nonessential heavy metals cause toxicity in humans or other vertebrates.

"We believe that the Slc39a8 gene could be responsible for the transportation not only of cadmium, but also of other nonessential heavy metals such as lead, nickel and mercury," says Dr. Nebert. "Identification and characterization of this gene in mice is a significant breakthrough that will improve our understanding of how heavy metals actually cause toxicity and cancer in humans."

###

Co-authors include Timothy P. Dalton, PhD, Lei He, Bin Wang, Marian L. Miller, PhD, Li Jin, PhD, Xiaoqing Chang and C. Stuart Baxter, PhD, all of UC's Department of Environmental Health, and Keith Stringer, PhD, of UC's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Cincinnati. "University Of Cincinnati Researchers Discover Gene That Causes Heavy Metal Poisoning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218132952.htm>.
University Of Cincinnati. (2005, February 21). University Of Cincinnati Researchers Discover Gene That Causes Heavy Metal Poisoning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218132952.htm
University Of Cincinnati. "University Of Cincinnati Researchers Discover Gene That Causes Heavy Metal Poisoning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218132952.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins