Age‐dependent variation for inducibility of metallothionein genes in mouse liver by cadmium

David J. Thomas, Sheldon Morris, P. C. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Cadmium is a toxic metal that induces the expression of metallothionein genes in many tissues and that binds avidly to metallothionein, a soluble transition metal binding protein. The present study examined the temporal pattern and magnitude of accumulation of metallothionein mRNA in liver of C57BL/6J mice of various ages treated with cadmium. In adult female mice, accumulation was dependent on the dosage level of cadmium and related to the concentration of this metal in liver. The accumulation of metallothionein mRNA in liver depended on age at exposure to cadmium. Intraperitoneal administration of 2 mg of cadmium per kg provoked small increases (two‐ to threefold) in levels of metallothionein mRNA in livers of 7‐ and 14‐day‐old mice. In contrast, cadmium treatment of 28‐ and 56‐day‐old mice resulted in 12‐ to 19‐fold increases in levels of metallothionein mRNA in liver with maximum increases occurring 3 to 4 hr after treatment. Because similar patterns for the accumulation of cadmium of liver were found in 7‐, 28‐, and 56‐day‐old mice, observed age‐dependent differences in induction of metallothionein mRNA in liver were probably not due to differences in the accumulation of cadmium in this organ. Taken together, these data suggest that tissue‐specific factors controlling the expression of metallothionein genes may account for developmental variation in the inducibility of these genes by cadmium. Ontogenic variation in accumulation of metallothionein mRNA after cadmium treatment may be a factor in developmental variation in the acute lethality of cadmium in C57BL/6J mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Genetics
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

Keywords

  • gene expression
  • lethality
  • mRNA
  • ontogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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