Minor changes in serum levels of cytokines after removal of amalgam restorations

Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jun 1;211(2):120-5. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.03.769. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


Dental amalgam restorations release mercury and silver which is absorbed and distributed in the body. Animal studies have shown that both elements may interfere with the host by activation of the immune system in genetically susceptible strains at exposure levels relevant to those from dental amalgam restorations. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of no change over time in concentrations of a number of immune mediators in serum after removal of all dental amalgam restorations in patients with health complaints attributed to their amalgam restorations and compare with a healthy reference group. Twenty patients previously examined at a specialty unit for health complaints attributed to dental materials were included in a clinical trial and had all amalgam restorations replaced with other dental restorative materials. Serum samples were collected before amalgam removal and 3 and 12 months after the removal was finished. Twenty blood donors matched for age and gender were used as comparison group. A fluorescent bead-based (Luminex) immunoassay kit was used to measure cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in serum. At baseline, the patient group had slightly higher values for GM-CSF, IL-6, IL-2R, IFN-alpha, IL-7, and IL-12p40/p70 compared with the reference group. After amalgam removal a decrease towards the median value of the reference group was found for GM-CSF, IL-8, and IL-7. In conclusion, removal of all dental amalgam restorations and replacement with other dental restorative materials was associated with decreased concentrations of Th1-type proinflammatory markers in serum.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00346944.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Argyria / blood
  • Argyria / immunology
  • Argyria / prevention & control*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Dental Amalgam / pharmacokinetics
  • Dental Amalgam / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercury / blood
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics
  • Mercury Poisoning / blood
  • Mercury Poisoning / immunology
  • Mercury Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Silver / blood
  • Silver / pharmacokinetics
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Cytokines
  • Silver
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00346944