Metallothioneins (MTs) have a low molecular weight and have been considered to be important metal-binding proteins in defense from cadmium (Cd) toxicity in animals. These proteins are known to be induced by the injection of heavy metals such as Cd. Previously, we developed the measurement of the MT mRNA expression by the RT-PCR method. In this study, to clarify the relation between Cd-induced MT-I mRNA expression and female sex hormones in liver, we investigated the influences of the ovariectomy and female sex hormones on hepatic MT-I mRNA expression after Cd injection, and also investigated the effects of aging on hepatic MT-I mRNA expression in mice after Cd injection. We analysed the MT-I mRNA expression by the RT-PCR method. Cd-induced MT-I mRNA expression in ovariectomized mice was more than that in sham-operated mice (9 weeks old). Both 17β-estradiol and progesterone reduced the Cd-induced MT-I mRNA expression in ovariectomized mice (9 weeks old). Moreover, the MT-I mRNA expression in male mice was more than that of females (9 weeks old). However, the sex difference in the gene expression was not found in younger (4 weeks old) or older (46 weeks old) mice. These results suggest that the expression of hepatic MT-I mRNA after Cd injection is influenced by female sex hormones.
- Female sex hormones
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