Heavy metals in the cell nucleus - role in pathogenesis.

  • Hanna Sas-Nowosielska Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS, Warszawa, Poland.;
  • Natalia Pawlas Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec, Poland.;


People are exposed to heavy metals both in an occupational and natural environment. The most pronounced effects of heavy metals result from their interaction with cellular genetic material packed in form of chromatin. Heavy metals influence chromatin, mimicking and substituting natural microelements in various processes taking place in the cell, or interacting chemically with nuclear components: nucleic acids, proteins and lipids. This paper is a review of current knowledge on the effects of heavy metals on chromatin, exerted at the level of various nuclear components.