A matter of concern - Trace element dyshomeostasis and genomic stability in neurons
Neurons are post-mitotic cells in the brain and their integrity is of central importance to avoid neurodegeneration. Yet, the inability of self-replenishment of post-mitotic cells results in the need to withstand challenges from numerous stressors during life. Neurons are exposed to oxidative stress due to high oxygen consumption during metabolic activity in the brain. Accordingly, DNA damage can occur and accumulate, resulting in genome instability. In this context, imbalances in brain trace element homeostasis are a matter of concern, especially regarding iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium. Although trace elements are essential for brain physiology, excess and deficient conditions are considered to impair neuronal maintenance. Besides increasing oxidative stress, DNA damage response and repair of oxidative DNA damage are affected by trace elements. Hence, a balanced trace element homeostasis is of particular importance to safeguard neuronal genome integrity and prevent neuronal loss. This review summarises the current state of knowledge on the impact of deficient, as well as excessive iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium levels on neuronal genome stability.