The structural and functional effects of Hg(II) and Cd(II) on lipid model systems and human erythrocytes: A review.
The interactions of mercury ions with the membrane phospholipids are considered to be of great importance regarding the toxicity of this metal in living organisms. To obtain deeper insight into this problem, we performed systematic studies applying the Langmuir technique complemented with synchrotron X-ray scattering methods (grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD) and X-ray reflectivity (XR)). We focused our attention on the interactions of inorganic mercury salts dissolved in the aqueous subphase with lipid monolayers, formed by selected membrane phospholipids, namely, dipalmitoylphosphatidylglicerol (DPPG), dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), 1-octadecyl 2-sn-phosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC), and sphingomyelin (SM). Two different inorganic mercury salts, one of a hydracid, HgCl(2), and the other of an oxacid, Hg(NO(3))(2), have been investigated. Our results proved that the elastic properties of phospholipid monolayers are a key factor regarding the interactions with mercury ions. Significant differences in mercury ions complexation are observed with double-chain phospholipids (such as DPPG and DPPC) forming fluid layers of low compressibility and phospholipids forming more compressible films (like SM and lyso-PC). Namely, important changes in the monolayer characteristic were observed only for the latter kind of lipids. This is an important finding taking into account the accumulation of mercury in the central nervous system and its neurotoxic effects. SM is one of the most abundant lipids in neurons shells and therefore can be considered as a target lipid complexing mercury ions.