Astrocytes as potential modulators of mercuric chloride neurotoxicity

M. Aschner, K. J. Mullaney, M. N. Fehm, D. E. Wagoner, D. Vitarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


1. MC has been shown to inhibit the uptake of l-glutamate and increase d-aspartate release from preloaded astrocytes in a dose-dependent fashion. 2. Two sulfhydryl (SH-)-protecting agents; reduced glutathione (GSH), a cell membrane-nonpenetrating compound, and the membrane permeable dithiothreitol (DTT), have been shown consistently to reverse the above effects. MC-induced d-aspartate release is completely inhibited by the addition of 1 m M DTT or GSH during the actual 5-min perfusion period with MC (5 μM); when added after MC treatment, DTT fully inhibits the MC-induced d-aspartate release, while GSH does not. 3. Neither DTT nor GSH, in the absence of MC, have any effect on the rate of astrocytic d-aspartate release. Other studies demonstrate that although MC treatment (5 μM) does not induce astrocytic swelling, its addition to astrocytes swollen by exposure to hypotonic medium leads to their failure to volume regulate. 4. Omission of calcium from the medium greatly potentiates the effect of MC on astrocytic d-aspartate release, an effect which can be reversed by cotreatment of astrocytes with the dihydropyridine Ca2+-channel antagonist nimodipine (10 μM), indicating that one possible route of MC entry into the cells is through voltage-gated L-type channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-652
Number of pages16
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • astrocytes
  • d-aspartate
  • l-glutamate
  • mercuric chloride
  • thiols (-SH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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