Document Type: Review Paper
Toxicology and Diseases Group, Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center (PSRC), The Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (TIPS), Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.
Dental Research Center, Dentistry Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Wnt signaling plays a critical role during embryogenesis and is responsible for regulating the homeostasis of the adult stem cells and cells fate via a multitude of signaling pathways and associated transcription factors, receptors, effectors, and inhibitors. For this review, published articles were searched from PubMed Central, Embase, Medline, and Google Scholar. The search terms were Wnt, canonical, noncanonical, signaling pathway, β-catenin, environment, and heavy metals. Published articles on Wnt signaling pathways and heavy metals as contributing factors for causing diseases via influencing Wnt signaling pathways were included. Wnt canonical or noncanonical signaling pathways are the key regulators of stem cell homeostasis that control many mechanisms. There is an adequate balance between β-catenin dependent and independent Wnt signaling pathways and remain highly conserved throughout different development stages. Environmental heavy metal exposure may cause either inhibition or overexpression of any component of Wnt signaling pathways such as Wnt protein, transcription factors, receptors, ligands, or transducers to impede normal cellular function via negatively affecting Wnt signaling pathways. Environmental exposure to heavy metals potentially contributes to diseases via deregulated Wnt signaling pathways.