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Effect of mercury exposure frequency in riverside populations from the Amazon region: identification of possible biomarkers

Grant number: 19/02538-4
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2019 - November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Chemistry of Macromolecules
Principal Investigator:Pedro de Magalhães Padilha
Grantee:Pedro de Magalhães Padilha
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Camila Pereira Braga ; Felipe André dos Santos ; Jiri Adamec ; José Cavalcante Souza Vieira ; Luiz Fabricio Zara ; Marcelo de Oliveira Lima ; Marília Afonso Rabelo Buzalaf


Mercury is a toxic, dangerous and responsible element for environmental contamination and human intoxication, which has a wide distribution in the Amazonian environment. In addition, when entering aquatic ecosystems it participates in biogeochemical cycles mediated by microorganisms, where it will be chemically transformed, bioaccumulated and biomagnified in the trophic chain. Predatory fish, when accumulating high levels of mercury, can act as vehicles of this chemical form for their consumers, and since the feeding of the riverside communities is based mainly on the consumption of fish, this population is exposed to this toxic element, that depending on its form cause serious and even irreversible damage. In addition to the chemical form of Hg, the symptoms of intoxication, as well as their severity, are related to the mercury content, amount and frequency of exposure - factors related to the occurrence of accumulation in the body. In addition, the deleterious effects of mercury in various systems are associated with oxidative stress even though mercury is in low concentrations. Based on the foregoing, the general objective of the work will be to identify the possible biomarkers associated with the frequency of exposure to mercury using proteomics and metalloproteomics tools in riverside populations of the Jirau/Madeira region, Rondônia/Brazil. The Jirau region is characterized as one of the most impacted by mercury due to gold mining in the '70s and '80s. In this region, metalloproteomic studies in fish and breast milk were carried out in the last five years by UNESP / Botucatu researchers in partnership with researchers from the University of Brasília, Evandro Chagas Institute and University of Nebraska/USA. In these studies, mercury-associated proteins with mercury contamination biomarker characteristics were identified. The present work proposal will continue the metalloproteomic studies of this region in relation to humans, working with plasma samples and using Noviplex cards that allow the use of blood microliters without the need of low temperatures for the preservation of the samples. In parallel, a model mercury metalloproteomic study will also be developed in the laboratory, using plasma, liver and heart samples from rats exposed to low concentrations of mercury for 30 and 60 days. (AU)