Analyzing the Effects of Mercury on Acetylcholinesterase In Vitro
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Type of Work55 pages
ProgramMaster of Science in Applied Biology
Mercury -- Health aspects
Cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway
This study aims to establish a viable method for testing the relationship between low doses of inorganic mercury and the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in vitro. Mercury has been identified as a heavy metal that can induce an immune response through cytokine signaling, resulting in an unopposed inflammatory response by downregulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. The ubiquity of mercury as an environmental toxicant and its ability to bioaccumulate and become biomagnified makes it a xenobiotic of interest in many toxicological studies. This is notably performed in concentrations of micromolar ranges or higher. Previous findings support a dysregulation of the immune response when mercury exposure occurring in the nanomolar range is coupled with bacterial or viral adjuncts. This co-exposure is demonstrated exasperating the effects seen in the inflammatory response through the inhibition of the anti-inflammatory counteraction of the immune system to reestablish homeostasis. The further understanding of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway (CAP) and the enzyme AChE as a regulator is one area of interest when hypothesizing the mechanism of this inflammatory response. This research presented in this manuscript establishes the use of a continuous assay based on Ellman’s method as a viable method to assess the effects of mercury on AChE in vitro which allows for the further analysis of this complex relationship between low dose mercury exposures, bacterial adjuncts, and the CAP. Specifically, this method offers an explanation for a potential mechanism of how these components relate to one another and the upregulation of the inflammatory response, and specifically how it becomes unchallenged.