Methylmercury (MeHg) can cause deleterious effects in vertebrate tissues, particularly in the central nervous system. MeHg interacts with sulfhydryl groups from low and high molecular weight thiols in the blood, which can facilitate MeHg uptake into different tissues. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of MeHg-Cysteine (MeHg-Cys) complex administration on Hg-uptake in cerebral areas (cortex and cerebellum), liver and kidney of adult mice. Animals were divided into four groups: control (1 mLkg distilled water), MeHg (2 mgkg), Cys (2 mgkg) and MeHg-Cys complex (0.8 molar ratio). Mice received one intraperitoneal injection per day for 60 consecutive days. Treatment with MeHg significantly increased mercury concentrations in all tissues analysed when compared with the control group. The accumulation of mercury in brain and in liver was further increased in animals that received MeHg-Cys complex when compared with the MeHg alone group. However, renal Hg decreased in MeHg-Cys treated mice, when compared with the group treated only with MeHg. In summary, the transport of MeHg-Cys complex was tissue-specific, and we observed an increase in its uptake by liver and brain as well as a decrease in kidney.
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