Lead and Cadmium Synergistically Enhance the Expression of Divalent Metal Transporter 1 Protein in Central Nervous System of Developing Rats

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Divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) can transport a large range of ions, including toxic lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), across membranes. In this study, a total of 24 rats were divided into four groups for intragastrical perfusion treatment: control, Pb alone, Cd alone, and Pb + Cd. Pb and Cd contents in blood were detected, and the mRNA and protein levels of DMT1 were analyzed in the cerebellum, cortex, and hippocampus. Both Pb and Cd levels were elevated in all groups perfused with Pb and/or Cd, except for Pb level in the Cd-alone group (P < 0.05). The mRNA level of DMT1 did not differ among the four groups (P > 0.05). However, the DMT1 protein expression was significantly increased by 0.9-, 1.0-, and 1.1-fold in cerebellum, cortex, and hippocampus of the Pb + Cd group than in controls, respectively. Pb and Cd exposure can synergistically induce DMT1 protein synthesis and has implications for transportation of toxic ions in the developing rat's brain.

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