An explanation for strain and sex differences in renal uptake of methylmercury in mice

Toshiko Tanaka, Akira Naganuma, Kazuo Kobayashi, Nobumasa Imura

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The present investigation was designed to elucidate the mechanism for strain and sex differences in renal methylmercury accumulation, in five mouse strains, viz. BALB/cA, C57BL/6N, CBA/JN, C3H/HeN and ICR. Strain and sex comparisions of factors which influence renal mercury accumulation were made. Strain and sex differences were observed in renal mercury accumualation 4 h after methylmercuric chloride (MMC) (1μmol/kg, s.c.) injection. Glutathione (GSH) content in liver and kidney showed significant strain and sex differences. Pretreatment with 1,2-dicholor-4-nitrobenzene (DCNB), to deplete hepatic GSH without affecting renal non-protein thiol (NSH) level, led to a dose-dependent decrease in hepatic and plasma GSH concentrations that correlated with decreased mercury levels in the kidney 10 min after MMC (1 μmol/k, i.v.) injection. This indicates that hepatic and plasma GSH levels are related to mercury accumulation into the kidney. Renal γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (γ-GTP) activity significantly varied among the strains, and in BALB/cA and ICR, renal γ-GTP activity was about 2-fold higher than that in females. Renal γ-GTP activity was also correlated wit renal mercury content. These results suggest that strain and sex differences in renal accumulation of mercury are attributable to differences in tissue GSH content and possibly to differences in renal γ-GTP activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Glutathione
  • Methylmercury
  • Mice strain and sex differences
  • Renal uptake
  • γ-Glutamyltranspeptidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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