Effects of cadmium on the glial architecture in lizard brain

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Rossana Favorito
Antonio Monaco
Maria C. Grimaldi
Ida Ferrandino *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Ida Ferrandino | ida.ferrandino@unina.it


The glial cells are positioned to be the first cells of the brain parenchyma to face molecules crossing the blood-brain barrier with a relevant neuroprotective role from cytotoxic action of heavy metals on the nervous system. Cadmium is a highly toxic metal and its levels in the environment are increasing due to industrial activities. This element can pass the blood-brain barrier and have neurotoxic activity. For this reason we have studied the effects of cadmium on the glial architecture in the lizard Podarcis siculus, a significant bioindicator of chemical exposure due to its persistence in a variety of habitats. The study was performed on two groups of lizards. The first group of P. siculus was exposed to an acute treatment by a single i.p. injection (2 mg/kg-BW) of CdCl2 and sacrificed after 2, 7 and 16 days. The second one was used as control. The histology of the brain was studied by Hematoxylin/Eosin and Cresyl/Violet stains while the glial structures were analyzed by immunodetection of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), the most widely accepted marker for astroglial cells. Evident morphological alterations of the brain were observed at 7 and 16 days from the injection, when we revealed also a decrease of the GFAP-immunopositive structures in particular in the rhombencephalic ventricle, telencephalon and optic tectum. These results show that in the lizards an acute exposure to cadmium provokes morphological cellular alterations in the brain but also a decrement of the expression of GFAP marker with possible consequent damage of glial cells functions.

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