Role of docosahexaenoic acid in modulating methylmercury-induced neurotoxicity

Parvinder Kaur, Kristina Schulz, Michael Aschner, Tore Syversen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in modulating methylmercury (MeHg)-induced neurotoxicity was investigated in C6-glial and B35-neuronal cell lines. Gas chromatography measurements indicated increased DHA content in both the cell lines after 24 h supplementation. Mitochondrial activity evaluated by 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5 diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction indicated that 10μM MeHg treatment for 50 min led to a significant (p < 0.001) and similar decrease in MTT activity in both the cell lines. However, DHA pretreatment led to more pronounced depletion (p < 0.05) in the MTT activity in C6 cells as compared to B35 cells. The depletion of glutathione (GSH) content measured with the fluorescent indicator monochlorobimane was more apparent (p < 0.001) in C6 cells treated with DHA and MeHg. The amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) detected with the fluorescent indicator - chloromethyl derivative of dichloro dihydro fluorescein diacetate (CMH2DCFDA) - indicated a fourfold increase in C6 cells (p < 0.001) as compared to twofold increase in B35 cells (p < 0.001) upon DHA and MeHg exposure. However, the cell-associated MeHg measurement using 14 C-labeled MeHg indicated a decrease (p < 0.05) in MeHg accumulation upon DHA exposure in both the cell lines. These findings provide experimental evidence that although pretreatment with DHA reduces cell-associated MeHg, it causes an increased ROS (p < 0.001) and GSH depletion (p < 0.05) in C6 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-432
Number of pages10
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell culture
  • Glutathione
  • In vitro
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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