Environmental and occupational metal exposure poses serious global concerns. Metal exposure have severally been associated with neurotoxicity and brain damage. Furthermore, receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is also implicated in neurological disorders, particularly those with altered glucose metabolism. Here, we examine potential compounding effect of metal exposure and RAGE expression on dopamine (DA) and serotonin (SER) neurons in C. elegans. In addition, we evaluate the effect of RAGE expression on DA and SER neurons in hyperglycemic conditions. Newly generated RAGE-expressing C. elegans tagged with green fluorescent proteins (GFP) in DAergic and SERergic neurons were treated with cadmium (Cd) or manganese (Mn). Additionally, the RAGE-expressing worms were also exposed to high glucose conditions. Results showed metals induced neurodegeneration both in the presence and absence of RAGE expression, but the manner of degeneration differed between Cd and Mn treated nematodes. Furthermore, RAGE-expressing worms showed significant neurodegeneration in both DAergic and SERergic neurons. Our results indicate co-occurrence of metal exposure and RAGE expression can induce neurodegeneration. Additionally, we show that RAGE expression can exacerbate hyperglycemic induced neurodegeneration.
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