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DOS SANTOS VERGILIO, Cristiane  and  TENORIO DE MELO, Edésio José. Autophagy, apoptosis and organelle features during cell exposure to cadmiumc. Biocell [online]. 2013, vol.37, n.2, pp.45-54. ISSN 0327-9545.

Cadmium (Cd) induces several effects in different tissues, but our knowledge of the toxic effects on organelles is insufficient. To observe the progression of Cd effects on organelle structure and function, HuH-7 cells (human hepatic carcinoma cell line) were exposed to CdCl2 in increasing concentrations (1 μM - 20 μM) and exposure times (2 h - 24 h). During Cd treatment, the cells exhibited a progressive decrease in viability that was both time- and dose-dependent. Cd treated cells displayed progressive morphological changes that included cytoplasm retraction and nuclear condensation preceding a total loss of cell adhesion. Treatment with 10 μM for 12 h led to irreversible damages. Before these drastic and irreparable damages, treated cells (5 μM for 12 h) presented a progressive loss of mitochondrial function and cytoplasm acidification as well as dysfunction and disorganization of microfilaments and endoplasmic reticulum. These damages led to the induction of apoptotic events and an increase in autophagic bodies in the cytoplasm. These results revealed that Cd affects multiple intra-cellular targets that induce alterations in the mitochondria, cytoskeleton, endoplasmic reticulum and acidic compartments, ultimately culminating in cell death via apoptotic and autophagic pathways.

Keywords : Cd; Cell death; Hepatocyte; HuH-7 cells; Mitochondria.

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