Nickel And Its Effects On Our Planet

865 WordsApr 30, 20154 Pages
Nickel As one of the most abundant elements on our planet, nickel is widely used in the production of stainless steel materials, jewelry, batteries, medical devices, metal plating, coins and welding. Nickel processing poses one of the largest threats to health as workers are repeatedly exposed to nickel during different stages of the process. Due to this increased exposure, refinery workers have shown an increase of lung and nasal cancer. Various animal models have also been used to elicit the formation of tumors with the chronic exposure to nickel compounds. Even though nickel is classified as a (group 1) known carcinogen and many different mechanisms have been proposed in the carcinogenicity of nickel the actual mechanism is yet unknown. Mutation assays involving nickel exposer to species ranging from Salmonella to mammalian cells, in vitro, have shown that nickel has low mutagenic activity. It is believed that structural alterations in chromatin and epigenetic changes are the driving force behind nickel carcinogenesis. Nickel compounds have been shown to silence genes by inducing DNA methylation, which was first noticed in the Chinese hamster G12 cell line. DNA methylation following nickel compound exposure has also been observed in vivo in tumors produced from nickel sulfide in wild type C57BL/6 mice and mice heterozygous for the p53 gene. DNA hypermethylation of the p53 promoter gene, p16, was found in all tumors of the mice. The mechanism behind the
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