Glutatione Protects Against Mercury by Quinta_Essentia .....

Glutatione Protects Against Mercury

Date:   2/7/2009 10:33:16 PM ( 12 y ago)

Here they studied how 'thimerosal' (which is just a fancy name for mercury) and glutathione interact. they discovered that mercury is toxic to cells, no surprise there. however, they discovered that if they first treated the cells with glutatione, then exposed those cells to mercury, the cells showed no toxic effects.

Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors
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S.J. James1, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, William Slikker III2, Stepan Melnyk1, Elizabeth New2, Marta Pogribna2 and Stefanie Jernigan1

2Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA


Thimerosol is an antiseptic containing 49.5% ethyl mercury that has been used for years as a preservative in many infant vaccines and in flu vaccines. Environmental methyl mercury has been shown to be highly neurotoxic, especially to the developing brain. Because mercury has a high affinity for thiol (sulfhydryl (single bondSH)) groups, the thiol-containing antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), provides the major intracellular defense against mercury-induced neurotoxicity. Cultured neuroblastoma cells were found to have lower levels of GSH and increased sensitivity to thimerosol toxicity compared to glioblastoma cells that have higher basal levels of intracellular GSH. Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular GSH in both cell lines. Pretreatment with 100 μM glutathione ethyl ester or N-acetylcysteine (NAC), but not methionine, resulted in a significant increase in intracellular GSH in both cell types. Further, pretreatment of the cells with glutathione ethyl ester or NAC prevented cytotoxicity with exposure to 15 μM Thimerosal. Although Thimerosal has been recently removed from most children's vaccines, it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly, and to children in developing countries. The potential protective effect of GSH or NAC against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccinations.

Keywords: Thimerosal; Neurotoxicity; Glutathione; N-acetylcysteine
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