Neurobehavioral effects of combined prenatal exposure to low-level mercury vapor and methylmercury

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Author(s)

Abstract

We evaluated the effects of prenatal exposure to low-level mercury (Hg<sup>0</sup>) or methylmercury (MeHg) as well as combined exposure (Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure) on the neurobehavioral function of mice. The Hg<sup>0</sup> exposure group was exposed to Hg<sup>0</sup> at a mean concentration of 0.030 mg/m<sup>3</sup> for 6 hr/day during gestation period. The MeHg exposure was supplied with food containing 5 ppm of MeHg from gestational day 1 to postnatal day 10. The combined exposure group was exposed to both Hg<sup>0</sup> vapor and MeHg according to above described procedure. After delivery, when their offspring reached the age of 8 weeks, behavioral analysis was performed. Open field (OPF) tests of the offspring showed an increase and decrease in voluntary activity in male and female mice, respectively, in the MeHg exposure group. In addition, the rate of central entries was significantly higher in this group than in the control group. The results of OPF tests in the Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure group were similar to those in the MeHg exposure group in both males and females. The results in the Hg<sup>0</sup> exposure group did not significantly differ from those in the control group in males or females. Passive avoidance response (PA) tests revealed no significant differences in avoidance latency in the retention trial between the Hg<sup>0</sup>, MeHg, or Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure group and the control group in males or females. Morris water maze tests showed a delay in the latency to reach the platform in the MeHg and Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure groups compared with the control group in males but no significant differences between the Hg<sup>0</sup>, MeHg, or Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure group and the control group in females. The results of OPF tests revealed only slight effects of prenatal low-level Hg<sup>0</sup> exposure (0.03 mg/m<sup>3</sup>), close to the no-observable-effect level (NOEL) stated by the WHO (0.025 mg/m<sup>3</sup>), on the subsequent neurobehavioral function. However, prenatal exposure to 5 ppm of MeHg affected exploratory activity in the OPF test, and, in particular, male mice were highly sensitive to MeHg. The MeHg and Hg<sup>0</sup> + MeHg exposure groups showed similar neurobehavioral effects. Concerning the effects of prenatal mercury exposure under the conditions of this study, the effects of MeHg exposure may be more marked than those of Hg<sup>0</sup> exposure.

Journal

  • The Journal of Toxicological Sciences

    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 36(1), 73-80, 2011-02-01

    The Japanese Society of Toxicology

References:  17

Cited by:  1

Codes

  • NII Article ID (NAID)
    10027420404
  • NII NACSIS-CAT ID (NCID)
    AN00002808
  • Text Lang
    ENG
  • Article Type
    Journal Article
  • ISSN
    03881350
  • NDL Article ID
    10999473
  • NDL Source Classification
    ZS51(科学技術--薬学)
  • NDL Call No.
    Z19-1022
  • Data Source
    CJP  CJPref  NDL  J-STAGE 
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