Cells were exposed to 1-6 μM of MeHg for 24 h, and analysis of toxicity was performed. Based on these results, the LC50 was calculated and two concentrations were chosen (0.25 and 2.5 μM MeHg) to evaluate intracellular mercury (Hg) accumulation (THg), metabolic viability and oxidative stress parameters (GSH:GSSG ratio, lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and DNA damage).
The results demonstrated accumulation of THg as we increased the MeHg concentrations in the exposure and, the higher the dose, the lower is the cell metabolic response. In addition, the 2.5 μM MeHg concentration also triggered oxidative stress in human salivary gland cells by depleting the antioxidant competence of GSH:GSSG ratio and increasing lipid peroxidation and proteins carbonyl levels, but no damages to DNA integrity.
In conclusion, although these two elected doses did not show lethal effects, the highest dose triggered oxidative stress and new questionings about long-term exposure models are raised to investigate furthers cellular damages to human salivary gland cells caused by MeHg exposure to extrapolate in a translational perspective.
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