Tony Henry

Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Biology

First Advisor

Govindarajan Ramesh


The goal of this study was to employ an in vitro mesencephalic cell model, to better understand the cellular mechanisms and pathways involved in neuronal cell damage, a major component of mercury neurotoxicity. The objectives were to determine the effects of mercury on cell death, the role of oxidative stress in mercury exposure. The mesencephalic cell line was chosen because it has been shown to be more sensitive to a number of neurotoxins and provided a superior and more appropriate model for this study. Cultured cells were treated with mercury salt at concentrations of and incubated for 2 hours. Following the incubation, the cells were examined for cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, glutathione levels, and live dead cell assay. Results from these experiments have shown that low dose exposure to mercury in vitro revealed a trend of escalating cytotoxicity to the cells as the levels of mercury were increased. Secondly, at low introduction of mercury, oxidative stress in these cell cultures gradually increased ensuring apoptosis. Thirdly, incubation of mercury in increasing concentrations in mesencephalic cells resulted in a significant change in GSH. And lastly, mercury caused cytotoxictiy at higher concentrations as reveled by live dead cell assay. In conclusion, 1 2 examination of low dose exposure of mesencephalic cells to mercury in vitro has revealed a trend of escalating oxidative stress in these cell insuring apoptosis