Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 191–201 | Cite as

The effect of methylmercury on prenatal development and trace metal distribution in pregnant and fetal rats

  • J. Chmielnicka
  • B. Brzeźnicka
  • B. Barański
  • K. Sitarek
Original Articles


Methylmercuric chloride (MetHg) at the dose of 2.5 mgHg/kg was administered by gavage every other day to pregnant rats from the sixth to the twentieth day of gestation. On the 21st day of gestation, females were sacrificed to allow the evaluation of embryotoxicity and the taking of analytical material. Copper, zinc, iron, and calcium were determined4 by AAS in brain, liver, kidneys, intestine, whole blood, and spleen of pregnant MetHg-exposed, nonpregnant and pregnant control females, and in fetuses as well as in placenta.

Exposure of pregnant rats to MetHg brought about a decrease in the concentration of intestinal iron and calcium compared with control pregnant animals. In whole fetuses where the mother had been exposed to MetHg, the concentrations of calcium and iron were significantly decreased. The skeletal examination showed developmental retardation of fetuses in the MetHg group, which was reflected in enhanced frequency of delayed ossification of the sternebrae, os occipitale, and vertebrae. The copper level in the brains of fetuses from intoxicated mothers was significantly lower and the absolute brain weights were higher than in controls.

Index Entries

Methylmercury, interaction with Cu, Fe, Ca, and Zn calcium, interactions with MetHg pregnant rats, interactions of MetHg, Cu, Fe, Ca, and Zn ossification, of fetus exposed to MetHg, Cu, Fe, Ca, and Zn zinc, interaction with MetHg, Cu, Fe, and Ca copper, interactions with MetHg, Ca, Zn, and Fe iron, interactions with MetHg, Ca, Cu, and Zn rat, MetHg, Ca, Cu, Zn, and Fe interactions in the pregnant fetus, MetHg, Ca, Cu, Zn, and Fe interactions in the rat 


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Copyright information

© The Humana Press Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Chmielnicka
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Brzeźnicka
    • 1
  • B. Barański
    • 2
  • K. Sitarek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Toxicological ChemistryMedical AcademyNarutowiczaPoland
  2. 2.Division of Industrial ToxicologyInstitute of Occupational MedicineLodzPoland

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