Glutathione effects on toxicity and uptake of mercuric chloride and sodium arsenite in rabbit renal cortical slices

C. A. Burton, K. Hatlelid, K. Divine, D. E. Carter, Q. Fernando, K. Brendel, A. J. Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The mechanism of renal uptake of nephrotoxic heavy metals such as HgCl2 and NaAsO2 is not clear. The metals are known to react with endogenous sulfhydryls such as glutathione (GSH), so metal-GSH conjugates may be delivered to the kidney. To study this possibility, renal cortical slices from male New Zealand white rabbits were incubated with 10-4 M HgCl2 or 10-3 M NaAsO2 ± stoichiometric amounts (1-3x) of GSH; or synthetic metal-GSH conjugates [10-4 M Hg(SG)2 or 10-3 M As(SG)3]. Incubations were performed at 37°C in DME-F12 buffer (95/5 O2/CO2) for 8 hr. Hg(SG)2 reduced slice K+/DNA content, as an indicator of viability, significantly less than HgCl2. As(SG)3 exhibited a 2-hr delay in K+/DNA content reduction compared to NaAsO2. This delay in toxicity was not correlated to changes in uptake. Arsenic and mercury accumulation, determined by proton-induced X-ray emission, were also identical between the metal salts and the metal-GSH conjugates. Exogenous GSH decreased HgCl2 cytotoxicity and was correlated to a decrease in Hg accumulation in the slice. Exogenous GSH had limited if any protective effects against cytotoxicity by NaAsO2 and a decrease in As accumulation was not observed. Complex metal-GSH interactions appear to exist and impact on the uptake and toxicity of these metals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1995


  • Arsenite
  • Glutathione
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Metal accumulation
  • Metal toxicity
  • Metals
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Tissue slices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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