The research team led by Prof. Samuel Lo, Associate Head of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, recently discovered that chronic exposure to low-dose methyl-mercury, an environmental contaminant commonly found in seafood, may increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease.
In their study of rats chronically exposed to low doses of methyl-mercury, the researchers concluded that the cerebellum accumulates the largest amount of mercury, followed by the visual cortex, motor cortex and somatosensory cortex. Another important finding of this study was that in addition to methyl-mercury, the brain also accumulates other forms of mercury. In cases of acute mercury poisoning, such as that seen in Minamata disease, the neuro-sensory pathway seems to be affected first. The researchers employed advanced proteomic techniques to investigate protein expression in the somatosensory cortices of rats intoxicated with low-dose methyl-mercury. They found the expression of 104 out of 973 proteins to decrease by at least 50% after exposure to mercury contaminants.
Among these down-regulated proteins, 18% were found to be related to the cytoskeleton, 26% to energy metabolism, 18% to protein metabolism, and 20% to neurotransmitter release and signal transduction. The combined effects of these down-regulated proteins appear to suppress normal neuronal functions to an enormous degree, including the ability to repair the cerebrum itself. These results led the researchers to the conclusion that chronic exposure to low-dose methyl-mercury may increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease.
This article was first appeared on the PolyU Milestone, June 2011 Edition
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences