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Low concentrations of copper in drinking water increase AP-1 binding in the brain


Copper (Cu) in trace amounts is essential for biological organisms. However, dysregulation of the redox-active metal has been implicated in different neurological disorders such as Wilson's, Menkes', Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's diseases. Since many households use Cu tubing in the plumbing system, and corrosion causes the metal to leach into the drinking water, there may be adverse effects on the central nervous system connected with low-level chronic exposure. The present study demonstrates that treatment with a biologically relevant concentration of Cu for 3 months significantly increases activation of the redox-modulated transcription factor AP-1 in mouse brains. This was independent of an upstream kinase indicated in AP-1 activation. Another redox-active transcription factor, NF-κB, was not significantly modified by the Cu exposure. These results indicate that the effect of Cu on AP-1 is unique and may involve direct modulation of DNA binding.

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