Metabolic effects of manganese in the nematodeCaenorhabditis elegansthrough DAergic pathway and transcription factors activation

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Abstract

Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element for physiological functions since it acts as an enzymatic co-factor. Nevertheless, overexposure to Mn has been associated with a pathologic condition called manganism. Furthermore, Mn has been reported to affect lipid metabolism by mechanisms which have yet to be established. Herein, we used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to examine Mn’s effects on the dopaminergic (DAergic) system and determine which transcription factors that regulate with lipid metabolism are affected by it. Worms were exposed to Mn for four hours in the presence of bacteria and in a liquid medium (85mM NaCl). Mn increased fat storage as evidenced both by Oil Red O accumulation and triglyceride levels. In addition, metabolic activity was reduced as a reflection of decreased oxygen consumption caused by Mn. Mn also affected feeding behavior as evidenced by decreased pharyngeal pumping rate. DAergic neurons viability were not altered by Mn, however the dopamine levels were significantly reduced following Mn exposure. Furthermore, the expression of sbp-1 transcription factor and let-363 protein kinase responsible for lipid accumulation control was increased and decreased, respectively, by Mn. Altogether, our data suggest that Mn increases the fat storage in C. elegans, secondary to DAergic system alterations, under the control of SBP-1 and LET-363 proteins.

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