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Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2023) | Viewed by 14460

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Pathobiochemistry and Interdisciplinary Applications of Ion Chromatography, Medical University of Lublin, 20-093 Lublin, Poland
Interests: bioanalytics; diseases of complex etiology; pathobiochemistry of autism; obesity; metabolic and psychiatric disorders; trace elements in health and diseases; human nutrition; sleeping disorders; ecotoxicology

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Guest Editor
Cellular Neurobiology & Neuro-Nanotechnology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick V94 T9PX, Ireland
Interests: nanotechnology; neurobiology; gut-brain interaction; stem cells; proteins
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The pervasive pollution of the environment with heavy metals is one of the most important threats to human health. Metal toxicity occurs through various factors, such as occupational exposure, accidents, and other environmental exposures. It depends on several variables, including the dose, route of exposure, and chemical species, as well as the genetics, nutritional status, gender, and age of exposed individuals. While progress has been made in research into the effects on living organisms, including human beings, exposures to toxic metals continue to cause ill health in all population groups. Current knowledge, though extensive, is still insufficient to explain the etiology of certain diseases—some of which may be linked to heavy metals.

This Special Issue focuses on the toxicity of various metals, mainly in humans. We welcome submissions, including original papers and reviews, on metallomics and molecular mechanisms by which metals cause various diseases, including neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer.

Dr. Anna Błażewicz
Dr. Andreas Grabrucker
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mechanisms of action and health effects on humans
  • acute and chronic intoxication
  • pathophysiology of poisoning
  • toxicokinetics
  • ‘omics’ studies measuring metals and metal effects

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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37 pages, 6694 KiB  
Article
The Protective Potential of Aronia melanocarpa L. Berry Extract against Cadmium-Induced Kidney Damage: A Study in an Animal Model of Human Environmental Exposure to This Toxic Element
by Nazar M. Smereczański, Małgorzata M. Brzóska, Joanna Rogalska and Tomasz Hutsch
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411647 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
The impact of cadmium (Cd) on the function and structure of the kidney and the potential protective effect of an extract from Aronia melanocarpa L. berries were investigated in a rat model of low- and moderate-level environmental exposure to this heavy metal (1 [...] Read more.
The impact of cadmium (Cd) on the function and structure of the kidney and the potential protective effect of an extract from Aronia melanocarpa L. berries were investigated in a rat model of low- and moderate-level environmental exposure to this heavy metal (1 and 5 mg Cd/kg feed for up to 24 months). The sensitive biomarkers of Cd-induced damage to the kidney tubules (N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), β2-microglobulin (β2-MG), and kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) in the urine), clinically relevant early markers of glomerular damage (albumin in the urine and creatinine clearance), and other markers of the general functional status of this organ (urea, uric acid, and total protein in the serum and/or urine) and Cd concentration in the urine, were evaluated. The morphological structure of the kidney and inflammatory markers (chemerin, macrophage inflammatory protein 1 alpha (MIP1a), and Bcl2-associated X protein (Bax)) were also estimated. Low-level and moderate exposure to Cd led to damage to the function and structure of the kidney tubules and glomeruli. The co-administration of A. melanocarpa berry extract significantly protected against the injurious impact of this toxic element. In conclusion, even low-level, long-term exposure to Cd poses a risk of kidney damage, whereas an intake of Aronia berry products may effectively protect from this outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity)
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13 pages, 646 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Environmental Exposure to Heavy Metals on the Occurrence of Selected Elements in the Maxillary Bone
by Piotr Malara, Maciej Misiołek, Agnieszka Fischer and Beata Malara
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2552; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032552 - 29 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1222
Abstract
The elemental composition of the body’s calcified tissues may reflect the environmental exposure of the population to heavy metals. The aim of the study was to assess whether the elemental composition of the maxillary bone from individuals belonging to a given population reflects [...] Read more.
The elemental composition of the body’s calcified tissues may reflect the environmental exposure of the population to heavy metals. The aim of the study was to assess whether the elemental composition of the maxillary bone from individuals belonging to a given population reflects the environmental exposure of this population to lead and cadmium. The research material consisted of cortical bone from the anterolateral walls of the maxilla collected from 126 patients during Caldwell–Luc maxillary sinus surgery on residents of two cities differing in terms of the lead and cadmium pollution of the natural environment. The content levels of lead, cadmium, iron, manganese, chromium, copper, and iron were determined by using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The content levels of lead and cadmium in the samples of the maxillary bones of residents of Bielsko-Biala were 3.26 ± 2.42 µg/g and 0.74 ± 0.38 µg/g, respectively, whereas in the samples from the residents of Katowice, they were 7.66 ± 2.79 µg/g and 1.12 ± 0.08 µg/g, respectively. It was found that the lead and cadmium levels in the maxillary bone corresponded to the environmental exposure to these heavy metals in the place of residence, which was proven here via the example of the residents of two cities with different concentrations of these heavy metals in the air over long time periods. Additionally, higher content levels of essential metals such as manganese, chromium, copper, and iron are characteristic of the maxillary bone samples of residents of the area that is more polluted with heavy metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity)
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16 pages, 1619 KiB  
Article
Relationship between Postural Stability, Lead Content, and Selected Parameters of Oxidative Stress
by Marta Wąsik, Katarzyna Miśkiewicz-Orczyk, Michał Słota, Grażyna Lisowska, Aleksandra Kasperczyk, Francesco Bellanti, Michał Dobrakowski, Urszula Błaszczyk, Rafał Jakub Bułdak and Sławomir Kasperczyk
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(21), 12768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232112768 - 23 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1102
Abstract
This study attempts to determine whether the increased blood lead concentration affects the posturographic test and to determine the relationship between the parameters of posture stability and selected parameters of oxidative stress. The study population consisted of 268 male employees and was divided [...] Read more.
This study attempts to determine whether the increased blood lead concentration affects the posturographic test and to determine the relationship between the parameters of posture stability and selected parameters of oxidative stress. The study population consisted of 268 male employees and was divided into two equal subgroups, depending on the lead content in the blood. A posturographic examination was performed. Concentrations of lead, cadmium, zinc protoporphyrin, selected essential elements, and selected markers of oxidative stress in the blood were tested. Higher blood lead concentrations positively affected the values of the sway results: the field and the mean velocity of the center of the feet pressure in posturography. The absolute value of the proprioception ratio was similar in both subgroups. The content of malondialdehyde shows a statistically significantly higher value in a subgroup with high blood lead concentration and exhibits significant correlations only with some of the posturography parameters. The lipofuscin content in erythrocytes correlates with the results of the posturography test. Zinc protoporphyrin, total oxidant status, total antioxidant capacity, selected minerals, and metals did not correlate with the results of the posturography test. In conclusion, posturographic results correlate only with selected markers of oxidative stress, so it can be assumed that the effect on the body balance is only partial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity)
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Review

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21 pages, 1418 KiB  
Review
Aluminium in the Human Brain: Routes of Penetration, Toxicity, and Resulting Complications
by Łukasz Bryliński, Katarzyna Kostelecka, Filip Woliński, Piotr Duda, Joanna Góra, Michał Granat, Jolanta Flieger, Grzegorz Teresiński, Grzegorz Buszewicz, Ryszard Sitarz and Jacek Baj
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(8), 7228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24087228 - 13 Apr 2023
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5926
Abstract
Aluminium (Al) is the most ubiquitous metal in the Earth’s crust. Even though its toxicity is well-documented, the role of Al in the pathogenesis of several neurological diseases remains debatable. To establish the basic framework for future studies, we review literature reports on [...] Read more.
Aluminium (Al) is the most ubiquitous metal in the Earth’s crust. Even though its toxicity is well-documented, the role of Al in the pathogenesis of several neurological diseases remains debatable. To establish the basic framework for future studies, we review literature reports on Al toxicokinetics and its role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and dialysis encephalopathy (DE) from 1976 to 2022. Despite poor absorption via mucosa, the biggest amount of Al comes with food, drinking water, and inhalation. Vaccines introduce negligible amounts of Al, while the data on skin absorption (which might be linked with carcinogenesis) is limited and requires further investigation. In the above-mentioned diseases, the literature shows excessive Al accumulation in the central nervous system (AD, AUD, MS, PD, DE) and epidemiological links between greater Al exposition and their increased prevalence (AD, PD, DE). Moreover, the literature suggests that Al has the potential as a marker of disease (AD, PD) and beneficial results of Al chelator use (such as cognitive improvement in AD, AUD, MS, and DE cases). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity)
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19 pages, 811 KiB  
Review
Metal Profiles in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Crosstalk between Toxic and Essential Metals
by Anna Błażewicz and Andreas M. Grabrucker
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(1), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24010308 - 24 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3998
Abstract
Since hundreds of years ago, metals have been recognized as impacting our body’s physiology. As a result, they have been studied as a potential cure for many ailments as well as a cause of acute or chronic poisoning. However, the link between aberrant [...] Read more.
Since hundreds of years ago, metals have been recognized as impacting our body’s physiology. As a result, they have been studied as a potential cure for many ailments as well as a cause of acute or chronic poisoning. However, the link between aberrant metal levels and neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), is a relatively new finding, despite some evident ASD-related consequences of shortage or excess of specific metals. In this review, we will summarize past and current results explaining the pathomechanisms of toxic metals at the cellular and molecular levels that are still not fully understood. While toxic metals may interfere with dozens of physiological processes concurrently, we will focus on ASD-relevant activity such as inflammation/immune activation, mitochondrial malfunction, increased oxidative stress, impairment of axonal myelination, and synapse formation and function. In particular, we will highlight the competition with essential metals that may explain why both the presence of certain toxic metals and the absence of certain essential metals have emerged as risk factors for ASD. Although often investigated separately, through the agonistic and antagonistic effects of metals, a common metal imbalance may result in relation to ASD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical and Environmental Aspects of Metal Toxicity)
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