Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 45–55 | Cite as

Experimental organic mercury poisoning — Pathological changes in peripheral nerves

  • Taihei Miyakawa
  • Motonori Deshimaru
  • Shiro Sumiyoshi
  • Aoi Teraoka
  • Nobuaki Udo
  • Eisei Hattori
  • Seijun Tatetsu
Original Investigations

Summary

Organic mercury firstly affects peripheral nerves all over the nervous system. In peripheral nerves, pathological changes are selectively observed in sensory nerve fibres and are as follows: Swelling and degeneration of Schwann cells, noticeable changes in both myelin sheaths and axons. Proliferating cells such as Schwann cells and macrophages may be acting the role of removal and digestion of degenerated myelin and axon. The pathological changes in myelinated fibres tend to begin at the nodes of Ranvier. With the quantity of organic mercury which was administered, only peripheral nerves were injured. From this point of view, we speculate that, of the neurological signs, only sensory disturbance might be found in some of the patients poisoned by organic mercury.

Key-Words

Organic Mercury Compound Peripheral Nerve Minamata Disease Electron Microscopy 

Zusammenfassung

Organische Quecksilberverbindungen schädigen im Nervensystem zunächst die peripheren Nerven. Dabei werden die sensiblen Fasern bevorzugt betroffen: es kommt zur Proliferation und Degeneration der Schwannschen Zellen sowie zu starken Veränderungen an Markscheiden und Axonen. Vermehrte Schwannsche Zellen und Makrophagen bewirken die Beseitigung und Verdauung degenerierter Markscheiden und Axone. Die Veränderungen an markhaltigen Nervenfasern beginnen hauptsächlich am Ranvierschen Schnürring. Organisches Quecksilber schädigt in einer bestimmten Dosierung ausschließlich die peripheren Nerven. Diese Befunde lassen vermuten, daß bei Patienten mit organischen Quecksilbervergiftungen mitunter nur Symptome von Schäden an sensiblen Nerven auftreten können.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taihei Miyakawa
    • 1
  • Motonori Deshimaru
    • 1
  • Shiro Sumiyoshi
    • 1
  • Aoi Teraoka
    • 1
  • Nobuaki Udo
    • 1
  • Eisei Hattori
    • 1
  • Seijun Tatetsu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuropsychiatryKumamoto University, Medical SchoolKumamotoJapan

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