NEUROPHARMACOLOGY AND NEUROTOXICOLOGYSynergistic toxicity of the environmental neurotoxins methylmercury and β-N-methylamino-L-alanineRush, Travis; Liu, XiaoQian; Lobner, Doug Author Information Department of Biomedical Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Correspondence to Dr Doug Lobner, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Marquette University, 561N. 15th Street, Rm 426, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA Tel: +1 414 288 6569; fax: +1 414 288 6564; e-mail: [email protected] Received November 26, 2011 Accepted November 30, 2011 NeuroReport: March 7, 2012 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 216-219 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32834fe6d6 Buy Metrics Abstract Determination of the environmental factors involved in neurodegenerative diseases has been elusive. Methylmercury and β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) have both been implicated in this role. Exposure of primary cortical cultures to these compounds independently induced concentration-dependent neurotoxicity. Importantly, concentrations of BMAA (10–100 μM) that caused no toxicity alone potentiated methylmercury (3 μM) toxicity. In addition, concentrations of BMAA and methylmercury that had no effect by themselves on the main cellular antioxidant glutathione together decreased glutathione levels. Furthermore, the combined toxicity of methylmercury and BMAA was attenuated by the cell permeant form of glutathione, glutathione monoethyl ester. The results indicate a synergistic toxic effect of the environmental neurotoxins BMAA and methylmercury, and that the interaction is at the level of glutathione depletion. © 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.