Skip to Main Content

Assessment of Apoptosis-associated Gene Expression in Cerebellar Grannule Cells Exposed to Methylmercury

Jessica Stern

Objective- To determine the signaling pathway leading to neuronal loss that occurs in cerebellar granule cells after exposure to methylmercury.

Animals-Juvenile (12-21 days old) wildtype mice of the C57BL/6J strain.

Procedure-Three to five wild-type mice were exposed to either 2, 5, 10 or 50 mg/kg doses (s.c. q 24th) of methylmercury in order to determine the optimal dose for gene expression studies.  Sections were examined for the presence of neuronal death using fluoro-jade dye.  One dose (10gm/kg) was then used to treat juvenile mice to prepare cerebellar granule layer tissue for Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) to obtain RNA.  The RNA will then be used in hybridization assays to identify any known cell-death genes present in the samples.

Results- In the dose selection study, 10 mg/kg methylmercury was determined to be the optimal dose needed to generate an adequate amount of degenerating granule cells for hybridization studies.

Conclusion-Studies are ongoing at this time. RNA was obtained from LCM obtained granule cells and hybridized to gene microarrays for known cell death genes.