Methylmercury-induced alterations in lung and pulmonary surfactant properties of adult mice

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/S0009-3084(97)00072-8
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TypeArticle
Journal titleChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Volume89
Issue2
Pages107117; # of pages: 11
SubjectMethylmercury; Lung surfactant; Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL); Surface tension; Phospholipids; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
AbstractExposure to methylmercuric chloride (MMC) has been shown to significantly affect development of the lung and pulmonary surfactant system of the fetus. Preliminary results suggest it may also affect adult lung and associated bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), which represents the extracellular surfactant pool. To determine if mercury exposure has the potential to alter surfactant function, adult mice were treated with MMC, 15 mg/kg by intragastric intubation on 4 successive days. BAL was collected by repeated intratracheal lavage 24 h after the last treatment. Nucleated cell numbers in lavage were determined. Tissue was prepared for scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Lavage fluid was extracted into chloroform:methanol and phospholipid concentration determined. A sample of the extract was used at a constant phospholipid concentration to measure surface activity on a bubble surfactometer. Lung weight to body weight ratio increased whereas total numbers of nucleated cells in BAL were not altered by MMC. SEM of samples from lungs of animals exposed to MMC showed normal architecture. Surface tension measurements suggest that the mean time to minimum surface tension and the minimum surface tension were greater in BAL from mice exposed to MMC for 4 days. In addition samples of BAL were prepared for Fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometry (FT-IR). Spectra showed changes in both lipid and protein components of BAL. Morphometric analyses of micrographs showed that mean alveolar diameter was reduced and wall thickness increased after mercury exposure. These results suggest that methylmercury exposure may significantly affect surface tension characteristics and composition of BAL, possibly through leakage of edematous interstitial tissue.
Publication date
PublisherElsevier B.V.
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Biodiagnostics; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number862
NPARC number9147857
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Record identifier3bcaa0cf-4de6-460a-ab62-5e08f139f7f4
Record created2009-06-25
Record modified2016-10-31
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