Mercury toxicity due to the smelting of placer gold recovered by mercury amalgam.
A 19-year-old man developed tremor in both hands and fatigue after starting work at a placer gold mine where he was exposed to mercury-gold amalgam. Examination revealed an intention tremor, dysdiadochokinesis and mild rigidity. The 24-h urinary mercury concentration reached a peak of 715 nmol/l (143 ug/l) shortly before the clinical examination, after which he was removed from working in the gold room [Mercury No. Adverse Effect Level: 250 nmol/l (50 ug/l)]. On review 7 weeks later his tremor had almost resolved and the dysdiadochokinesis and rigidity had gone. The 24-h urinary mercury concentration had fallen to 160 nmol/l (32 ug/l). The principal exposure to mercury was considered to be the smelting of retorted gold with previously unrecognized residual mercury in it. The peak air concentration of mercury vapour during gold smelting was 0.533 mg/m3 (Mercury Vapour ACGIH TLV: 0.05 mg/m3 TWA). Several engineering and procedural controls were instituted. This episode occurred at another mine site, unrelated to Mount Isa Mines Limited. (+info)
Carbon disulphide absorption during xanthate reagent mixing in a gold mine concentrator.
A xanthate reagent mixer at a gold mine concentrator was exposed to carbon disulphide by extensive skin contamination with xanthate powder and solution during the reagent mixing process. Absorption of carbon disulphide was confirmed by the detection of urinary 2-thiothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (TTCA). Drager colorimetric tube testing during subsequent mixing recorded a maximum concentration of at least 60 ppm carbon disulphide. An illness consisting of predominantly gastrointestinal symptoms began 20 h after the exposure. Although this may have been due to carbon disulphide toxicity this is by no means certain. The need for engineering controls, impervious protective clothing and full-face respirators with particulate and organic vapour cartridges is discussed. This episode occurred at another mine site, unrelated to Mount Isa Mines Limited. (+info)
Particle bombardment mediated transformation and GFP expression in the moss Physcomitrella patens.
There are few plants facilitated for the study of development, morphogenesis and gene expression at the cellular level. The moss Physcomitrella patens can be a very useful plant with several advantages: simple life cycle containing a major haploid gametophyte stage, easy manipulation, small genome size (6 x 10(8) bp) and high similarities with higher plants. To establish the transformation system of mosses as a model for basic plant research, a series of experiments were performed. Mosses were cultured in cellophane overlaid BCD media, transformed by particle bombardment and selected by the choice of appropriate antibiotics. Initial transformants appeared 8 d or 14 d after selection, showing different sensitivities toward the antibiotics used. Heat treatment during the preparation of particles revealed that denaturing the DNA enabled a more efficient way to deliver a transgene into the chromosome. This was proven by the increase in the number of transformants by five times in the plants with denatured DNA. In the test for the repairing capacity of mosses, 154 and 195 transformants survived from 1 d and 3 d incubations, respectively, indicating that a longer period of incubation seemed to be recommendable for better survival. The selected transformants were further analyzed at the DNA and expression level. Transformed genes were confirmed by PCR where all the transformants showed the expected size of amplification. Histochemical beta-glucuronidase (GUS) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression also confirmed the integration of exogenous DNA. In a comparison of the two different forms of GFP, soluble-modified GFP (smGFP) expressed stronger signals than modified GFP (mGFP) due to its improved solubility. Confirmation of the transgene in the chloroplast transformation has improved the applicability of moss as a model system for the study of basic biological researches. (+info)
Cutting edge: receptor-mediated endocytosis of heat shock proteins by professional antigen-presenting cells.
Immunization with heat shock proteins (HSPs) induces Ag-specific CTL responses. The specificity of the immune response is based on peptides associated with HSPs. To investigate how exogenous HSP/peptide complexes gain access to the MHC class I-restricted Ag presentation pathway, we incubated the monocytic cell line P388D1 and the dendritic cell line D2SC/1 with gold-labeled HSPs gp96 and HSC70. We show that HSPs bind specifically to the surface of these APCs and are internalized spontaneously by receptor-mediated endocytosis, demonstrating the existence of specific receptors for HSPs on these cells. In addition, we observe colocalization of internalized HSPs and surface MHC class I molecules in early and late endosomal structures. These findings provide possible explanations for the immunogenicity of HSP/peptide complexes and for the transfer of HSP-associated peptides onto MHC class I molecules. (+info)
The secretory route of the leaderless protein interleukin 1beta involves exocytosis of endolysosome-related vesicles.
Interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta), a secretory protein lacking a signal peptide, does not follow the classical endoplasmic reticulum-to-Golgi pathway of secretion. Here we provide the evidence for a "leaderless" secretory route that uses regulated exocytosis of preterminal endocytic vesicles to transport cytosolic IL-1beta out of the cell. Indeed, although most of the IL-1beta precursor (proIL-1beta) localizes in the cytosol of activated human monocytes, a fraction is contained within vesicles that cofractionate with late endosomes and early lysosomes on Percoll density gradients and display ultrastructural features and markers typical of these organelles. The observation of organelles positive for both IL-1beta and the endolysosomal hydrolase cathepsin D or for both IL-1beta and the lysosomal marker Lamp-1 further suggests that they belong to the preterminal endocytic compartment. In addition, similarly to lysosomal hydrolases, secretion of IL-1beta is induced by acidotropic drugs. Treatment of monocytes with the sulfonylurea glibenclamide inhibits both IL-1beta secretion and vesicular accumulation, suggesting that this drug prevents the translocation of proIL-1beta from the cytosol into the vesicles. A high concentration of extracellular ATP and hypotonic medium increase secretion of IL-1beta but deplete the vesicular proIL-1beta content, indicating that exocytosis of proIL-1beta-containing vesicles is regulated by ATP and osmotic conditions. (+info)
Leptospirosis and Ebola virus infection in five gold-panning villages in northeastern Gabon.
An exhaustive epidemiologic and serologic survey was carried out in five gold-panning villages situated in northeastern Gabon to estimate the degree of exposure of to leptospirosis and Ebola virus. The seroprevalence was 15.7% for leptospirosis and 10.2% for Ebola virus. Sixty years after the last seroepidemiologic survey of leptospirosis in Gabon, this study demonstrates the persistence of this infection among the endemic population and the need to consider it as a potential cause of hemorrhagic fever in Gabon. There was no significant statistical correlation between the serologic status of populations exposed to both infectious agents, indicating the lack of common risk factors for these diseases. (+info)
Cellular responses to Plasmodium falciparum major surface antigens and their relationship to human activities associated with malaria transmission.
In Brazil, two types of activities have led to the worsening of malarial transmission in the Amazon region: prospecting/mining and agricultural settlements. In the present study, we analyze the cellular response of 52 of these individuals (14 gold-miners and 38 farmers) living within the same endemic area. Two Plasmodium falciparum major surface antigens (recombinant proteins) were used for cellular proliferative assays: circumsporozoite protein and merozoite surface protein-1. The frequency of these cellular responses were significantly higher among the miners (57-64%) than the farmers (10-20%) when either recombinant protein was used. Our data suggest that a higher exposure to malaria of the gold-miners contributed to their higher in vitro cellular response compared with the farmers. These findings point the way to further studies evaluating the influence of risk factors associated with the life styles of different social groups and the immune responses to these antigens. (+info)
Single micro electrode dielectrophoretic tweezers for manipulation of suspended cells and particles.
Cells or particles in aqueous suspension close to a single capacitively coupled micro electrode (CCME) driven with high frequency electric fields experience dielectrophoretic forces. The effects near the CCME can be used for trapping and manipulation of single cells using externally metallised glass pipettes and might be used to develop a microscope based on force or capacitance measurements in conductive media. (+info)