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Publication Detail

Title: Increases in the number of reactive glia in the visual cortex of Macaca fascicularis following subclinical long-term methyl mercury exposure.

Authors: Charleston, J S; Bolender, R P; Mottet, N K; Body, R L; Vahter, M E; Burbacher, T M

Published In Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, (1994 Dec)

Abstract: The number of neurons, astrocytes, reactive glia, oligodendrocytes, endothelia, and pericytes in the cortex of the calcarine sulcus of adult female Macaca fascicularis following long-term subclinical exposure to methyl mercury (MeHg) and mercuric chloride (inorganic mercury; IHg) has been estimated by use of the optical volume fractionator stereology technique. Four groups of monkeys were exposed to MeHg (50 micrograms Hg/kg body wt/day) by mouth for 6, 12, 18, and 12 months followed by 6 months without exposure (clearance group). A fifth group of monkeys was administered IHg (as HgCl2; 200 micrograms Hg/kg body wt/day) by constant rate intravenous infusion via an indwelling catheter for 3 months. Reactive glia showed a significant increase in number for every treatment group, increasing 72% in the 6-month, 152% in the 12-month, and 120% in the 18-month MeHg exposed groups, and the number of reactive glia in the clearance group remained elevated (89%). The IHg exposed group showed a 165% increase in the number of reactive glia. The IHg exposed group and the clearance group had low levels of MeHg present within the tissue; however, the level of IHg was elevated in both groups. These results suggest that the IHg may be responsible for the increase in reactive glia. All other cell types, including the neurons, showed no significant change in number at the prescribed exposure level and durations. The identities of the reactive glial cells and the implications for the long-term function and survivability of the neurons due to changes in the glial population following subclinical long-term exposure to mercury are discussed.

PubMed ID: 7992310 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Analysis of Variance; Animals; Cell Count/drug effects; Cell Count/methods; Female; Macaca fascicularis; Mercuric Chloride/toxicity; Methylmercury Compounds/toxicity*; Neuroglia/drug effects*; Time Factors; Visual Cortex/cytology; Visual Cortex/drug effects*

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