Enhanced renal toxicity by inorganic mercury in metallothionein-null mice

Masahiko Satoh, Noriko Nishimura, Yoshitaka Kanayama, Akira Naganuma, Tsuguyoshi Suzuki, Chiharu Tohyama

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To elucidate a protective role of metallothionein (MT) in the manifestation of inorganic mercury toxicity, we studied the susceptibility of MT-null mice to the renal toxicity of mercuric chloride. Because the MT-null (J) mice are a genetic background of 129/Sv strain, the 129/Sv mice were used as wildtype controls. Nine-week-old male MT-null (J) and 129/Sv mice were given subcutaneous injections of mercuric chloride at doses of 10 to 40 μmol/kg. The basal MT level in the kidney of MT-null (J) mice was undetectable (<0.2 μg/g of tissue) and ~2.5 μg/g of tissue in 129/Sv mice. The sensitivity to the renal toxicity of mercuric chloride was markedly enhanced in the MT-null (J) mice compared with the 129/SV mice. The renal mercury level was similar for the MT-null (J) and 129/Sv mice at 4 hr after the injection of mercuric chloride (20 μmol/kg) but became significantly lower in MT-nu (J)mice than in 129/Sv mice at 24 and 72 hr. Based on the present results, we conclude that MT is an important protective factor against the renal toxicity caused by inorganic mercury and that it may play a major role in the retention of mercury in the kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1529-1533
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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