In this study we investigated the additive effect of mercury on the brain mitochondrial dysfunction in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model. Experimental animals (female C57BL/6 mice) are divided into four groups (n = 8); control, Hg, EAE, EAE with Hg. EAE model of MS induced by injecting myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). Neurobehavioral alterations are recorded and then mice were sacrificed at day 28 and brain mitochondria were isolated and mitochondrial toxicity parameters including mitochondrial swelling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and cytochrome c release were measured. Our results showed that repeated treatment of mercury following induction of EAE in mice significantly increased the neurobehavioral scores, as well as mitochondrial toxicity through ROS formation, mitochondrial swelling, collapse of MMP and cytochrome c release. Our findings proved that repeated exposure with mercury accelerates progression of MS through mitochondrial damage related to oxidative stress and finally apoptosis.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Brain mitochondria; EAE model; Mercury; Oxidative stress.