Osteonectin gene expression in relation to metallothionein mRNA expression was investigated in various tissues from Cd-treated rats. After a single 50 μmol/kg subcutaneous injection of CdCl2, Cd predominantly accumulated in the liver and metallothionein gene expression significantly increased concomitantly with Cd accumulation, but no alteration of osteonectin gene expression was observed. In the kidney and lung, both metallothionein and osteonectin mRNA increased significantly but the elevation of metallothionein mRNA levels (1 h after Cd administration) preceded that of osteonectin (3 h after administration). A significant elevation of osteonectin mRNA levels was also observed in the testis after 3 h, but that of metallothionein mRNA occurred after 6 h. Not only accumulation of Cd but also increments in both osteonectin and metallothionein mRNA were minimal in the brain, but a significant increase in gene expression was observed after 1 h for osteonectin and after 3 h for metallothionein. Since, except in the testis, metallothionein gene expression preceded osteonectin gene expression, the induced metallothionein might transpose Cd and thereby affect its levels immediately, thus reducing the levels of Cd available for accumulation in other tissues. Hence, the osteonectin-Cd interaction might be secondary to the metallothionein-Cd interaction. However, the fact that osteonectin mRNA was predominantly induced by Cd administration in the target tissues of Cd toxicity, such as the lung, kidney and testis, suggests the possible involvement of osteonectin in Cd intoxication/detoxication mechanisms.
- Gene expression