Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 349–354 | Cite as

Direct Absorption of Methyl Mercury by Lymph

  • Kaeko Murota
  • Mai Yoshida
  • Nana Ishibashi
  • Hideo Yamazaki
  • Takeshi Minami


Methyl mercury is contained in fish and seafood products and is taken up into the body in food. While the central nervous system is known as a target organ, methyl mercury also induces autoimmunity and acts as a potent immunosuppressor. The aim of the present study is to know whether methyl mercury is directly absorbed by lymph. Conscious rats were infused with methyl mercury (4 mg/kg) via duodenal tubing as a single pulse infusion, followed by the continuous infusion of saline, and lymphatic fluids were continuously collected from the thoracic lymph duct every 30 min until 360 min after infusion. Mercury was detected immediately after infusion, and total mercury contents in lymph gradually increased until 90–120 min, remained steady, and then gradually decreased until 360 min; however, the amount of mercury collected during 330–360 min was about twofold higher than during 0–30 min. The amount of cumulative mercury in lymph at 360 min was 1.4 μg. In contrast, blood mercury concentration was 2.4 μg/ml 5 min after infusion, with the value at 360 min being 12.6 times higher than at 5 min. Plasma mercury concentration was 56 ng/ml at 5 min, with hundreds of nanograms per milliliter of mercury detected until 360 min. From the present study, it is concluded that some methyl mercury is directly absorbed by lymph and remains steady 6 h after infusion.


Methyl mercury Lymph Absorption Intestine Portal vein 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaeko Murota
    • 1
  • Mai Yoshida
    • 1
  • Nana Ishibashi
    • 1
  • Hideo Yamazaki
    • 1
  • Takeshi Minami
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life Sciences, School of Science and EngineeringKinki UniversityOsakaJapan

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