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Publication Detail

Title: Latent alterations in swimming behavior by developmental methylmercury exposure are modulated by the homolog of tyrosine hydroxylase in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Authors: Ke, Tao; Prince, Lisa M; Bowman, Aaron B; Aschner, Michael

Published In Neurotoxicol Teratol, (2021 Feb 21)

Abstract: Methylmercury (MeHg) is a persistent environmental neurotoxicant that may cause adverse neurodevelopmental effects. Previous studies showed that developmental MeHg exposure caused damage to brain functions that were unmasked after a silent period of years or decades. However, the underlying mechanisms of the latent neurotoxicity associated with MeHg exposure from earlier developmental stages have yet to be fully understood. Herein, we established a Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model of developmental MeHg latent toxicity. Synchronized L1 stage worms were exposed to MeHg (0, 0.05, 0.5 and 5 μM) for 48 h. Swimming moving speeds at adulthood were analyzed in worms exposed to MeHg exposure at early larvae stages. Worms developmentally exposed to MeHg had a significant decline in swimming moving speed on day 10 adult stage, but not on day 1 or 5 adult stage, even though the mercury level in the worms exposed to 0.05 or 0.5 μM MeHg were below the quantification limit on day 10 adult. Day 10 adult worms treated with MeHg showed a significant decrease in bending angle and bending frequency during swimming. Furthermore, their reduced moving speeds tended to increase during the 300-s swimming experiment. Dopamine signaling is known to be involved in the regulation of worms' moving speed. Accordingly, the moving speed of worms with cat-2 (mammalian tyrosine hydroxylase homolog) mutation or dat-1 deletion were assayed on day 10 adult. The cat-2 mutant worms did not show a decline in moving speeds, body bends or bending angles during swimming on day 10 adult stage. Analyses of moving speeds of worms with dat-1 deletion showed that the moving speeds were further reduced after MeHg exposure. However, the effects of MeHg and dat-1 deletion were not synergistic, as the interaction between these parameters did not attain statistical significance. Altogether, our results suggest that developmental MeHg exposure reduced moving speed, and this latent toxicity was less pronounced in the context of deficient production of dopamine synthesis. Tyrosine hydroxylase plays an important role in regulating dopamine-mediated modulation of neurobehavioral functions. These findings uncovered a pivotal role of dopamine and its metabolism in the latent neurotoxic effects of MeHg.

PubMed ID: 33626374 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

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