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Understanding of the mercury-selenium interaction in Amazon riverside populations by combining cutting-edge analytical and toxicological approaches

Grant number: 22/03476-5
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2023 - December 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Toxicological Analysis
Convênio/Acordo: ANR
Principal Investigator:Fernando Barbosa Júnior
Grantee:Fernando Barbosa Júnior
Principal researcher abroad: Zoyne Pedrero Zayas
Institution abroad: Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, France
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: David Amouroux ; Emmanuel Olivier Tessier ; Gustavo Rafael Mazzaron Barcelos ; Laurent Ouerdane ; Maria Teresa Bueno Les


The overall impact of mercury (Hg) pollution is indisputable (Minamata convention on Hg), and some populations are recognized as particularly vulnerable and at high risk. The Brazilian Amazon is one of the regions most affected by Hg in the world. In this area, Hg can be released into aquatic ecosystems by anthropogenic (mainly through gold mining) and natural (such as soil leaching) processes, leading to a significant rise in Hg levels in Amazonian fish. As a result, riverside communities, consuming mainly fish, have one of the highest Hg exposures in the world nowadays. On the other hand, the selenium (Se) status in these same communities varies from medium to very high, reflecting the intake of Se from local food sources, such as Brazil nuts and fish. Se shows protective effects against the toxicity of Hg, but the mechanisms underlying the interactions of chemical species of Se with those of Hg are poorly understood. Thus, the antagonistic toxicological effects between Se and Hg widely mentioned but not characterized to date will be addressed in the SeMerAMAZON project by a multidisciplinary team of investigators with different and complementary expertise on the behavior of Hg and Se in the environment and on human health.SeMerAMAZON project will improve knowledge on environmental ecotoxicology and health sciences through a multidisciplinary project on Hg in line with the concept of "Eco-Health". The complementary skills of international research teams involved in cutting-edge analytical approaches (speciation and stable isotope signature) and toxicology/biomarkers of Hg harmfulness (metabolome/proteome and epigenetics) will contribute to understanding the mechanisms of Hg-Se interactions beneficial for health in the Amazon riverside populations. In addition, tackling global challenges, the BR-FR collaborative action will consolidate the induced synergies for long-lasting cooperation on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit. (AU)

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