Pregnancy Alters Renal and Blood Burden of Mercury in Females
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Methylmercury (CH3Hg+), a common environmental toxicant, has serious detrimental effects in numerous organ systems. We hypothesize that a significant physiological change, like pregnancy, can alter the disposition and accumulation of mercury. To test this hypothesis, pregnant and non-pregnant female Wistar rats were exposed orally to CH3Hg+. The amount of mercury in blood and total renal mass was significantly lower in pregnant rats than in non-pregnant rats. This finding may be due to expansion of plasma volume in pregnant rats and dilution of mercury, leading to lower levels of mercury in maternal blood and kidneys.
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (ES019991) and Navicent Health Foundation awarded to Dr. Bridges.
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