Vitamin C, glutathione, or lipoic acid did not decrease brain or kidney mercury in rats exposed to mercury vapor

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(4):339-47. doi: 10.1081/clt-120022000.


Some medical practitioners prescribe GSH and vitamin C alone or in combination with DMPS or DMSA for patients with mercury exposure that is primarily due to the mercury vapor emitted by dental amalgams.

Hypothesis: This study tested the hypothesis that GSH, vitamin C, or lipoic acid alone or in combination with DMPS or DMSA would decrease brain mercury.

Methods: Young rats were exposed to elemental mercury by individual nose cone, at the rate of 4.0 mg mercury per m3 air for 2 h per day for 7 consecutive days. After a 7-day equilibrium period, DMPS, DMSA, GSH, vitamin C, lipoic acid alone, or in combination was administered for 7 days and the brain and kidneys of the animals removed and analyzed for mercury by cold vapor atomic absorption.

Results: None of these regimens reduced the mercury content of the brain. Although DMPS or DMSA was effective in reducing kidney mercury concentrations, GSH, vitamin C, lipoic acid alone, or in combination were not.

Conclusion: One must conclude that the palliative effect, if any, of GSH, vitamin C, or lipoic acid for treatment of mercury toxicity due to mercury vapor exposure does not involve mercury mobilization from the brain and kidney.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Chelating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glutathione / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Succimer / therapeutic use*
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Unithiol / therapeutic use*
  • Volatilization


  • Antioxidants
  • Chelating Agents
  • Unithiol
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Succimer
  • Glutathione
  • Ascorbic Acid