Expression of metallothionein-1 (MT-1) mRNA in the rat testes and liver after cadmium injection

Syst Biol Reprod Med. 2009 Dec;55(5-6):188-92. doi: 10.3109/19396360903114429.


Metallothioneins (MTs) belong to the family of stress proteins that are present in the majority of living organisms. The MTs play an important task in detoxifying heavy metals. The mammalian scrotal testis is known to be susceptible to cadmium (Cd) exposure. The present work focuses on the MT-1 isoform and aims to ascertain and confirm previous findings to answer whether rodent testes indeed contain MT-1 mRNA, whether its level is increased with Cd injection in liver and testes, and lastly what is the relative difference in the expression of MT-1 mRNA in liver and testes both with and without Cd injection. Adult male Wistar rats weighing 270-290 g received a subcutaneous injection of 4.0 mumol Cd/kg and were sacrificed by cervical dislocation 6 h later. RNA was isolated from testes as well as the liver. There were 2 replicates per treatment for RNA analyses. MT-1 mRNA levels were determined by semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis and then assessed by densitometry scanning. The results of RT-PCR clearly demonstrated that the rodent testes express MT-1 mRNA. The densitometry data shows that the expression of MT-1 mRNA increases with Cd treatment in testes. The relative level of MT1-mRNA is greater in the control-liver than in the control-testes. However, upon Cd injection, the level of testes MT-1 mRNA increases 2.16 fold. These results suggest that the testes respond to Cd for at least 6 h post injection through a transcriptional mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadmium / pharmacology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metallothionein / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • metallothionein isoform 1
  • Cadmium
  • Metallothionein