Enhanced elimination of tissue methylmercury in Parachlorella beijerinckii-fed mice

J Toxicol Sci. 2011 Jan;36(1):121-6. doi: 10.2131/jts.36.121.


To investigate the influence of Chlorella (Parachlorella beijerinckii) on the excretion and tissue accumulation of methylmercury (MeHg), we orally administered 5 mg/kg of MeHg chloride (4 mg Hg/kg) to female C57BL/6N mice (aged 10 weeks). The mice were housed in metabolism cages to collect urine and feces for 3 weeks with diets containing 0%, 5%, or 10% P. beijerinckii powder (BP) in a basal diet (CE-2). The lowered blood Hg levels in the 5% and 10% BP groups became significant compared to those of the control group (0% BP) as early as day 7. During the 21 days of testing, significant increases in the cumulative Hg eliminations into urine (5% BP) and feces (5% and 10% BP) were found in the BP groups. Twenty-one days after administration, the organ Hg levels in both BP groups tended to decrease compared to that of the control group. The reduction of Hg levels in the kidney and brain were significant, whereas that in the liver was not. Although tissue Hg levels are known to be closely related to glutathione (GSH) metabolism, no difference was found in GSH levels in the blood or organs between the control group and the 10% BP group. These results suggest that continuous BP intake accelerates the excretion of MeHg and subsequently decreases tissue Hg levels in mice, with no alteration of GSH metabolism. We should conduct further research to elucidate details regarding the mechanism of BP-induced enhancement of MeHg excretion.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chlorella*
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Methylmercury Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / urine
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Plant Preparations
  • Glutathione
  • methylmercuric chloride