alexa Harmful Interactions of Non-Essential Heavy Metals with Cells of the Innate Immune System
ISSN: 2161-0495

Journal of Clinical Toxicology
Open Access

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Research Article

Harmful Interactions of Non-Essential Heavy Metals with Cells of the Innate Immune System

Theron AJ1,2*, Tintinger GR1, Anderson R1,2

1Medical Research Council Unit for Inflammation and Immunity, Department of Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

2Tshwane Academic Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Pretoria, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Theron AJ
Department of Immunology
PO Box 2034
Pretoria-0001, South Africa
Tel: +27-12-319-2623
Fax: +27-12-323-0732
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: February 27, 2012; Accepted Date: April 13, 2012; Published Date: April 16, 2012

Citation: Theron AJ, Tintinger GR, Anderson R (2012) Harmful Interactions of Non- Essential Heavy Metals with Cells of the Innate Immune System. J Clinic Toxicol S3:005. doi: 10.4172/2161-0495.S3-005

Copyright: © 2012 Theron AJ, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



In trace amounts, some heavy metals are essential for optimum health, while exposure to others, which are non-essential, presents the potential hazard of acute or chronic organ toxicity. Cadmium, mercury, lead, vanadium, platinum and palladium are commonly encountered, non-essential heavy metals which mediate their toxic activities by various mechanisms. All have the potential to interact with extracellular and intracellular protein sulfhydryls, rendering them not only potentially allergenic, but also predisposing to oxidative stress, while displacement of essential elements from their protein carriers may result in deficiency disorders. In addition, several of these metals, especially cadmium, palladium, platinum, and vanadium interact pro-oxidatively with the phagocytic cells of the innate immune system, potentiating the reactivity and toxicity of phagocyte-derived reactive oxygen species. This review is focused on the pro-oxidative/pro-inflammatory interactions of non-essential heavy metals with the cells of the innate immune system, a somewhat under-appreciated mechanism of metal induced toxicity.


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