Methylmercury localization in Danio rerio retina after trophic and subchronic exposure: a basis for neurotoxicology

Neurotoxicology. 2010 Sep;31(5):448-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 May 5.


Methylmercury is a known neurotoxic organometal which affects visual functions and few studies concerns to wild fish are available. The autometallography mercury distribution in the retina of Danio rerio was mapped using light and electron microscopy. Abundant mercury deposits were found in the photoreceptor layer (outer and inner segments of the photoreceptors) and in the inner and outer nuclear layers. Occasionally, the presence of mercury deposits in plexiform layers was observed and very rarely in the ganglion cell layer. Also the occurrence of mercury deposits in cells from the disc region was observed, but not in the nerve fiber layer. An interesting difference was found between mercury accumulation in the central and peripheral regions of the retina. These results demonstrate that mercury after trophic exposure to Danio rerio is able to cross the blood-retina barrier and accumulate in the cells of the retina even under subchronic exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Retinal Barrier / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mercury / metabolism*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / drug effects*
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology*


  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Mercury