Increase in intracellular Zn2+ concentration by thimerosal in rat thymocytes: intracellular Zn2+ release induced by oxidative stress.
Toxicol In Vitro. 2009 Sep ;23(6):1092-9. Epub 2009 Jun 2. PMID: 19497362
Thimerosal (TMR), an ethylmercury-containing preservative in pharmaceutical products, was recently reported to increase intracellular Zn(2+) concentration. Therefore, some health concerns about the toxicity of TMR remain because of physiological and pathological roles of Zn(2+). To reveal the property of TMR-induced increase in intracellular Zn(2+) concentration, the effect of TMR on FluoZin-3 fluorescence, an indicator of intracellular Zn(2+), of rat thymocytes was examined. TMR at concentrations ranging from 0.3 microM to 10 microM increased the intensity of FluoZin-3 fluorescence in a concentration-dependent manner under external Ca(2+)- and Zn(2+)-free condition. The threshold concentration was 0.3-1 microM. The increase in the intensity was significant when TMR concentration was 1 microM or more. N,N,N',N'-Tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl)ethylenediamine (TPEN), a chelator for intracellular Zn(2+), completely attenuated the TMR-induced augmentation of FluoZin-3 fluorescence. Hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and N-ethylmaleimide, reducing cellular thiol content, significantly increased FluoZin-3 fluorescence intensity and decreased 5-chloromethylfluorescein (5-CMF) fluorescence intensity, an indicator for cellular thiol. The correlation coefficient between TMR-induced augmentation of FluoZin-3 fluorescence and attenuation of 5-CMF fluorescence was -0.882. TMR also attenuated the 5-CMF fluorescence in the presence of TPEN. Simultaneous application of H(2)O(2) and TMR synergistically augmented the FluoZin-3 fluorescence. It is suggested that TMR increases intracellular Zn(2+) concentration via decreasing cellular thiol content.