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Author: Aaron B Bowman (63)


Feb
2018

Methylmercury is a toxic environmental contaminant that elicits significant toxicity in humans. The central nervous system is the primary target of toxicity, and is particularly vulnerable during development. Rho-associated protein kinase 1 (ROCK-1) is a major downstream effector of the small GTPase RhoA and a direct substrate of caspase-3.

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Dec
2017

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a pediatric disorder of dysregulated growth and differentiation caused by loss of function mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which regulate mTOR kinase activity. To study aberrations of early development in TSC, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells using dermal fibroblasts obtained from patients with TSC. During validation, we found that stem cells generated from TSC patients had a very high rate of integration of the reprogramming plasmid containing a shRNA against TP53.

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Oct
2017

Parkinson's disease (PD) is the result of complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Two chemically distinct environmental stressors relevant to PD are the metal manganese and the pesticide rotenone. Both are thought to exert neurotoxicity at least in part via oxidative stress resulting from impaired mitochondrial activity.

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Dec
1969

Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease resulting in motor impairment and death in patients. Recently, several studies have demonstrated insulin or insulin-like growth factor (IGF) treatment in models of HD, resulting in potent amelioration of HD phenotypes via modulation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways. Administration of IGF and insulin can rescue microtubule transport, metabolic function, and autophagy defects, resulting in clearance of Huntingtin (HTT) aggregates, restoration of mitochondrial function, amelioration of motor abnormalities, and enhanced survival.

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Jan
2018

In a recent study, we found that blocking the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) with the small molecule inhibitor (SMI) KU-55933 can completely abrogate Mn-induced phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (p-p53) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated striatal neuroprogenitors. However, in the immortalized mouse striatal progenitor cell line STHdh, a concentration of KU55933 far exceeding its ICfor ATM was required to inhibit Mn-induced p-p53. This suggested an alternative signaling system redundant with ATM kinase for activating p53 in this cell line- one that was altered by KU55933 at these higher concentrations (i.

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Jul
2017

Huntington's disease is characterized by a complex and heterogeneous pathogenic profile. Studies have shown that disturbance in lipid homeostasis may represent a critical determinant in the progression of several neurodegenerative disorders. The recognition of perturbed lipid metabolism is only recently becoming evident in HD.

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Jun
2017

mutations are the most common cause of early-onset Parkinson's disease. No genotype-phenotype correlation exists, and phenotypic variability is quite common. We report two siblings with confirmed identical compound heterozygous mutations in thegene manifesting strikingly different phenotypes.

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Jun
2017

Manganese (Mn) is critical for neurodevelopment but also has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurological diseases. We discuss how Mn requirements intersect with Mn biology and toxicity, and how these requirements may be altered in neurological disease. Furthermore, we discuss the emerging evidence that the level of Mn associated with optimal overall efficiency for Mn biology does not necessarily coincide with optimal cognitive outcomes.

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Apr
2017

Due to their ability to limitlessly proliferate and specialize into almost any cell type, human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer an unprecedented opportunity to generate human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), which compose the blood-brain barrier (BBB), for research purposes. Unfortunately, the time, expense, and expertise required to differentiate iPSCs to purified BMECs precludes their widespread use. Here, we report the use of a defined medium that accelerates the differentiation of iPSCs to BMECs while achieving comparable performance to BMECs produced by established methods.

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Jun
2017

Depression and anxiety are the most common psychiatric disorders, representing a major public health concern. Dysregulation of oxidative and inflammatory systems may be associated with psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Due to the need to find appropriate animal models to the understanding of such disorders, we queried whether 2 BXD recombinant inbred (RI) mice strains (BXD21/TyJ RI and BXD84/RwwJ RI mice) and C57BL/6 wild-type mice show differential performance in depression and anxiety related behaviors and biomarkers.

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Jun
2017

Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene (HTT), resulting in profound striatal neurodegeneration through an unknown mechanism. Perturbations in the urea cycle have been reported in HD models and in HD patient blood and brain. In neurons, arginase is a central urea cycle enzyme, and the metal manganese (Mn) is an essential cofactor.

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Dec
2016

Understanding blood-brain barrier responses to inflammatory stimulation (such as lipopolysaccharide mimicking a systemic infection or a cytokine cocktail that could be the result of local or systemic inflammation) is essential to understanding the effect of inflammatory stimulation on the brain. It is through the filter of the blood-brain barrier that the brain responds to outside influences, and the blood-brain barrier is a critical point of failure in neuroinflammation. It is important to note that this interaction is not a static response, but one that evolves over time.

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Dec
2016

The role of aggregate formation in the pathophysiology of Huntington's disease (HD) remains uncertain. However, the temporal appearance of aggregates tends to correlate with the onset of symptoms and the numbers of neuropil aggregates correlate with the progression of clinical disease. Using highly sensitive immunohistochemical methods we have detected the appearance of diffuse aggregates during embryonic development in the R6/2 and YAC128 mouse models of HD.

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Dec
1969

Manganese (Mn) is an essential heavy metal. However, Mn's nutritional aspects are paralleled by its role as a neurotoxicant upon excessive exposure. In this review, we covered recent advances in identifying mechanisms of Mn uptake and its molecular actions in the brain as well as promising neuroprotective strategies.

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Dec
1969

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and neurotoxin, particularly hazardous to developing and young individuals. MeHg neurotoxicity during early development has been shown to be sex-dependent via disturbances in redox homeostasis, a key event mediating MeHg neurotoxicity. Therefore, we investigated if MeHg-induced changes in key systems of antioxidant defense are sex-dependent.

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May
2016

Advancing age and disease duration both contribute to cortical thinning in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the pathological interactions between them are poorly described. This study aims to distinguish patterns of cortical decline determined by advancing age and disease duration in PD. A convenience cohort of 177 consecutive PD patients, identified at the Vanderbilt University Movement Disorders Clinic as part of a clinical evaluation for Deep Brain Stimulation (age: M= 62.

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Dec
1969

Alterations in DNA damage response and repair have been observed in Huntington's disease (HD). We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from primary dermal fibroblasts of 5 patients with HD and 5 control subjects. A significant fraction of the HD iPSC lines had genomic abnormalities as assessed by karyotype analysis, while none of our control lines had detectable genomic abnormalities.

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Sep
2015

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a critical structure that serves as the gatekeeper between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. It is the responsibility of the BBB to facilitate the entry of required nutrients into the brain and to exclude potentially harmful compounds; however, this complex structure has remained difficult to model faithfully in vitro. Accurate in vitro models are necessary for understanding how the BBB forms and functions, as well as for evaluating drug and toxin penetration across the barrier.

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Nov
2015

Mutations that lead to Huntington's disease (HD) result in increased transmission at glutamatergic corticostriatal synapses at early presymptomatic stages that have been postulated to set the stage for pathological changes and symptoms that are observed at later ages. Based on this, pharmacological interventions that reverse excessive corticostriatal transmission may provide a novel approach for reducing early physiological changes and motor symptoms observed in HD. We report that activation of the M4 subtype of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor reduces transmission at corticostriatal synapses and that this effect is dramatically enhanced in presymptomatic YAC128 HD and BACHD relative to wild-type mice.

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Nov
2015

Homozygous mutations in SLC30A10 cause familial parkinsonism associated with manganese (Mn) retention. We recently identified SLC30A10 to be a cell surface-localized Mn efflux transporter and demonstrated that parkinsonism-causing mutations block its intracellular trafficking and efflux function. In C.

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Dec
1969

Unusually large CAG repeat expansions (>60) in exon one of Huntingtin (HTT) are invariably associated with a juvenile-onset form of Huntington's disease (HD), characterized by a more extensive and rapidly progressing neuropathology than the more prevalent adult-onset form. However, existing mouse models of HD that express the full-length Htt gene with CAG repeat lengths associated with juvenile HD (ranging between ~75 to ~150 repeats in published models) exhibit selective neurodegenerative phenotypes more consistent with adult-onset HD. Objective: To determine if a very large CAG repeat (>200) in full-length Htt elicits neurodegenerative phenotypes consistent with juvenile HD.

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Aug
2015

Manganese is a metal that is required for optimal biological functioning of organisms. Absorption, cellular import and export, and excretion of manganese are all tightly regulated. While some genes involved in regulation, such as DMT-1 and ferroportin, are known, it is presumed that many more are involved and as yet unknown.

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Oct
2015

Cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-CMs) hold great promise for modeling human heart diseases. However, iPSC-CMs studied to date resemble immature embryonic myocytes and therefore do not adequately recapitulate native adult cardiomyocyte phenotypes. Since extracellular matrix plays an essential role in heart development and maturation in vivo, we sought to develop a synthetic culture matrix that could enhance functional maturation of iPSC-CMs in vitro.

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Jul
2015

Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element necessary for physiological processes that support development, growth and neuronal function. Secondary to elevated exposure or decreased excretion, Mn accumulates in the basal ganglia region of the brain and may cause a parkinsonian-like syndrome, referred to as manganism. The present review discusses the advances made in understanding the essentiality and neurotoxicity of Mn.

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Aug
2015

Manganese (Mn) is an essential heavy metal that is naturally found in the environment. Daily intake through dietary sources provides the necessary amount required for several key physiological processes, including antioxidant defense, energy metabolism, immune function and others. However, overexposure from environmental sources can result in a condition known as manganism that features symptomatology similar to Parkinson's disease (PD).

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Dec
1969

The understanding of manganese (Mn) biology, in particular its cellular regulation and role in neurological disease, is an area of expanding interest. Mn is an essential micronutrient that is required for the activity of a diverse set of enzymatic proteins (e.g.

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Mar
2015

Manganese (Mn) is one of the most abundant metals on the earth. It is required for normal cellular activities, but overexposure leads to toxicity. Neurons are more susceptible to Mn-induced toxicity than other cells, and accumulation of Mn in the brain results in Manganism that presents with Parkinson's disease (PD)-like symptoms.

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May
2015

Overexposure to the essential metal manganese (Mn) can result in an irreversible condition known as manganism that shares similar pathophysiology with Parkinson's disease (PD), including dopaminergic (DAergic) cell loss that leads to motor and cognitive impairments. However, the mechanisms behind this neurotoxicity and its relationship with PD remain unclear. Many genes confer risk for autosomal recessive, early-onset PD, including the parkin/PARK2 gene that encodes for the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin.

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Feb
2015

Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient for development and function of the nervous system. Deficiencies in Mn transport have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease (HD), an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by loss of medium spiny neurons of the striatum. Brain Mn levels are highest in striatum and other basal ganglia structures, the most sensitive brain regions to Mn neurotoxicity.

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Feb
2015

Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, yet its etiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood. PD is characterized by selective dopaminergic (DAergic) degeneration and progressive hypokinetic motor impairment. Mutations in dj-1 cause autosomal recessive early-onset PD.

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Apr
2015

The essential micronutrient manganese is enriched in brain, especially in the basal ganglia. We sought to identify neuronal signaling pathways responsive to neurologically relevant manganese levels, as previous data suggested that alterations in striatal manganese handling occur in Huntington's disease (HD) models. We found that p53 phosphorylation at serine 15 is the most responsive cell signaling event to manganese exposure (of 18 tested) in human neuroprogenitors and a mouse striatal cell line.

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Oct
2014

Manganese (Mn) is both an essential biological cofactor and neurotoxicant. Disruption of Mn biology in the basal ganglia has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, such as parkinsonism and Huntington's disease. Handling of other essential metals (e.

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Oct
2014

Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal, but elevated cellular levels are toxic and may lead to the development of an irreversible parkinsonian-like syndrome that has no treatment. Mn-induced parkinsonism generally occurs as a result of exposure to elevated Mn levels in occupational or environmental settings. Additionally, patients with compromised liver function attributable to diseases, such as cirrhosis, fail to excrete Mn and may develop Mn-induced parkinsonism in the absence of exposure to elevated Mn.

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Jan
2015

Poorly-defined interactions between environmental and genetic risk factors underlie Parkinson's disease (PD) etiology. Here we tested the hypothesis that human stem cell derived forebrain neuroprogenitors from patients with known familial risk for early onset PD will exhibit enhanced sensitivity to PD environmental risk factors compared to healthy control subjects without a family history of PD. Two male siblings (SM and PM) with biallelic loss-of-function mutations in PARK2 were identified.

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Dec
2014

High levels of manganese (Mn) exposure decrease striatal medium spiny neuron (MSN) dendritic length and spine density, but the mechanism(s) are not known. The Huntingtin (HTT) gene has been functionally linked to cortical brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) support of striatal MSNs via phosphorylation at serine 421. In Huntington's disease, pathogenic CAG repeat expansions of HTT decrease synthesis and disrupt transport of cortical-striatal BDNF, which may contribute to disease, and Mn is a putative environmental modifier of Huntington's disease pathology.

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Sep
2014

Understanding differences in gene expression that increase risk for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is essential to understanding the molecular basis for disease. Previous studies on patient samples were limited by end-stage disease effects or by use of nonadherent cells, which are not ideal to model vascular cells in vivo. These studies addressed the hypothesis that pathological processes associated with PAH may be identified via a genetic signature common across multiple cell types.

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Mar
2014

Manganese (Mn) is an environmental risk factor for neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration of the basal ganglia and other brain regions. Aberrant brain Mn levels have been linked to manganism, Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD) and other neurological disorders. Research on the cellular basis of Mn neurotoxicity has relied upon in vitro or non-human model systems.

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Dec
1969

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are becoming mainstream tools to study mechanisms of development and disease. They have a broad range of applications in understanding disease processes, in vitro testing of novel therapies, and potential utility in regenerative medicine. Although the techniques for generating iPSCs are becoming more straightforward, scientists can expend considerable resources and time to establish this technology.

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Jan
2013

The advent of high throughput screening (HTS) technology permits identification of compounds that influence various cellular phenotypes. However, screening for small molecule chemical modifiers of neurotoxicants has been limited by the scalability of existing phenotyping assays. Furthermore, the adaptation of existing cellular assays to HTS format requires substantial modification of experimental parameters and analysis methodology to meet the necessary statistical requirements.

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Dec
2012

Manganese (Mn) is an environmental risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD). Recessive inheritance of PARK2 mutations is strongly associated with early onset PD (EOPD). It is widely assumed that the influence of PD environmental risk factors may be enhanced by the presence of PD genetic risk factors in the genetic background of individuals.

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Jun
2012

Recent successes in deriving human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) allow for the possibility of studying human neurons derived from patients with neurological diseases. Concomitant inhibition of the BMP and TGF-β1 branches of the TGF-β signaling pathways by the endogenous antagonist, Noggin, and the small molecule SB431542, respectively, induces efficient neuralization of hiPSCs, a method known as dual-SMAD inhibition. The use of small molecule inhibitors instead of their endogenous counterparts has several advantages including lower cost, consistent activity, and the maintenance of xeno-free culture conditions.

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Dec
1969

YAC128 Huntington's disease (HD) transgenic mice accumulate less manganese (Mn) in the striatum relative to wild-type (WT) littermates. We hypothesized that Mn and mutant Huntingtin (HTT) would exhibit gene-environment interactions at the level of neurochemistry and neuronal morphology. Twelve-week-old WT and YAC128 mice were exposed to MnCl(2)-4H(2)O (50 mg/kg) on days 0, 3 and 6.

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Jun
2012

An important goal of neurotoxicological research is to provide relevant and accurate risk assessment of environmental and pharmacological agents for populations and individuals. Owing to the challenges of human subject research and the real possibility of species specific toxicological responses, neuronal lineages derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human neuronal precursors have been offered as a potential solution for validation of neurotoxicological data from model organism systems in humans. More recently, with the advent of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, there is now the possibility of personalized toxicological risk assessment, the ability to predict individual susceptibility to specific environmental agents, by this approach.

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Feb
2012

Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by expansion of a CAG repeat within the Huntingtin (HTT) gene, though the clinical presentation of disease and age-of-onset are strongly influenced by ill-defined environmental factors. We recently reported a gene-environment interaction wherein expression of mutant HTT is associated with neuroprotection against manganese (Mn) toxicity. Here, we are testing the hypothesis that this interaction may be manifested by altered protein expression patterns in striatum, a primary target of both neurodegeneration in HD and neurotoxicity of Mn.

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Mar
2012

Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is an inborn error of metabolism caused by defective cholesterol biosynthesis. Mutations within the gene encoding 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7), the last enzyme in the pathway, lead to the accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) in the brain tissue and blood of the SLOS patients. The objective of this study was to determine the consequences of the accumulation of an immediate cholesterol precursor, 7-DHC and its oxysterol metabolite, 3β,5α-dihydroxycholest-7-en-6-one (DHCEO), in the brain tissue of Dhcr7-KO mouse, a model for SLOS.

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Oct
2011

Although expansion of CAG repeats in ATAXIN1 (ATXN1) causes Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, the functions of ATXN1 and ATAXIN1-Like (ATXN1L) remain poorly understood. To investigate the function of these proteins, we generated and characterized Atxn1L(-/-) and Atxn1(-/-); Atxn1L(-/-) mice. Atxn1L(-/-) mice have hydrocephalus, omphalocele, and lung alveolarization defects.

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Dec
2011

Manganese (Mn) is an essential ubiquitous trace element that is required for normal growth, development and cellular homeostasis. Exposure to high Mn levels causes a clinical disease characterized by extrapyramidal symptom resembling idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). The present review focuses on the role of various transporters in maintaining brain Mn homeostasis along with recent methodological advances in real-time measurements of intracellular Mn levels.

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Dec
1969

Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling regulates cell growth during embryonic development, tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis. Concentration-dependent cellular responses to secreted Shh protein are essential for tissue patterning. Shh ligand is covalently modified by two lipid moieties, cholesterol and palmitate, and their hydrophobic properties are known to govern the cellular release and formation of soluble multimeric Shh complexes.

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Dec
2011

Gender differences in sensitivity and toxicokinetics of multiple metals have been identified in humans. A recent study suggested that young girls performed worse on intellectual exams than young boys exposed to manganese (Mn) in the environment. Animal studies have shown that Mn exposure causes differential effects on behavior in male compared to female mice.

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May
2011

Cellular manganese (Mn) uptake and transport dynamics can be measured using a cellular fura-2 manganese extraction assay (CFMEA). The assay described here uses immortalized murine striatal cell line and primary cortical astrocytes, but the method is equally adaptable to other cultured mammalian cells. An ultrasensitive fluorescent nucleic acid stain for quantification of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) in solution, Quant-iT PicoGreen, has been utilized for normalization of Mn concentration in the cultured cells, following Mn (II) chloride (MnCl(2)) exposure.

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