Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 317–321 | Cite as

Evaluation of mercury in hair, blood and muscle as biomarkers for methylmercury exposure in male and female mice

  • Jesper Bo Nielsen
  • Ole Andersen
  • Philippe Grandjean
Original Investigations


Recently established reference intervals demonstrate that blood mercury is significantly higher in women than in men. Mercury in blood and hair are both used as biomarkers for human methylmercury exposure and employed in risk assessment without considering possible sex-related differences in toxicokinetics of methylmercury. In an experimental study using male and female mice of three different strains, the validty of mercury in hair, blood and muscle as indicators of methylmercury exposure was evaluated. Significant sex-related differences in the toxicokinetics of methylmercury were observed in the mice and it is concluded that hair and blood levels of mercury are of questionable relevance as indicators of both body burden and target organ concentrations of mercury. However, blood concentrations might be used as an indicator of brain deposition and the correlation improves after corrections due to sex-related differences in toxicokinetics.

Key words

Methylmercury Biomarkers Sex-related difference Mice 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesper Bo Nielsen
    • 1
  • Ole Andersen
    • 2
  • Philippe Grandjean
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Community HealthOdense UniversityOdense CDenmark
  2. 2.Institute for Life Sciences and ChemistryRoskilde University CenterRoskildeDenmark

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