Gender effects of acute malathion or zinc exposure on the antioxidant response of rat hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
Gender is one of the most important factors in mammalian development and response to exogenous agents. Although there is increasing evidence that health effects of toxic xenobiotics differ in prevalence or are manifested differently in male and female, the molecular mechanisms related to these events remain unclear. In order to investigate the possible influence of gender, male and female Wistar rats from the same litter were exposed to zinc chloride (5 mg/kg, i.p.) or malathion (250 mg/kg, i.p.) 24 hr prior to the analyses of biochemical parameters related to the cholinergic and glutathione-antioxidant systems in cerebral cortex and hippocampus. After treatments, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was reduced in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of male and female rats treated with malathion, but the effect was more pronounced in the male group. Glutathione reductase (GR) and γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase activities were reduced in the hippocampus of males and females and a gender-specific effect of malathion was seen for glutathione S-transferase (GST), which was decreased only in male hippocampus and cortex, and for male cortical GR. Zinc chloride treatment decreased AChE activity in male and female cerebral cortex, with no obvious effect in the hippocampus. Male-specific antioxidant-related enzyme activity reductions were seen after zinc treatment for cortical GR, GST, glutathione peroxidase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; and hippocampal GR. These results clearly demonstrate a greater detrimental effect on antioxidant-related enzyme activities in male hippocampus and cerebral cortex when rats were acutely exposed to malathion and zinc, demonstrating that the research on gender-related differences in health effects caused by xenobiotic and/or essential elements requires further attention.
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