Mercuric chloride induced hepatotoxic and hematologic changes in rats: The protective effects of sodium selenite and vitamin E

Toxicol Ind Health. 2016 Sep;32(9):1651-62. doi: 10.1177/0748233715572561. Epub 2015 Mar 10.


This study focuses on investigating the possible protective effect of sodium selenite (Na2SeO3) and/or vitamin E against mercuric chloride (HgCl2)-induced hepatotoxicity in rat. Male rats were given HgCl2 (1 mg/kg body weight (bw)) and HgCl2 plus Na2SeO3 (0.25 mg/kg bw) and/or vitamin E (100 mg/kg bw) daily via gavage for 4 weeks. HgCl2-treated groups had significantly higher white blood cell and thrombocyte counts than the control group. Serum activities of alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl-transferase, and lactate dehydrogenase significantly increased and serum levels of total protein, albumin, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol significantly decreased in the HgCl2-treated groups compared with control group. Malondialdehyde level significantly increased and superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase activities decreased in liver tissue of HgCl2-treated rats. Also, HgCl2 exposure resulted in histopathological changes. Supplementation of Na2SeO3 and/or vitamin E provided partial protection in hematological and biochemical parameters that were altered by HgCl2 As a result, Na2SeO3 and/or vitamin E significantly reduced HgCl2-induced hepatotoxicity, but not protected completely.

Keywords: Mercuric chloride; hepatotoxicity; histopathology; oxidative stress; sodium selenite; vitamin E.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / physiopathology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / etiology
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / prevention & control
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytosis / etiology
  • Leukocytosis / prevention & control
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mercuric Chloride / toxicity*
  • Mercury Poisoning / metabolism
  • Mercury Poisoning / pathology
  • Mercury Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Mercury Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Platelet Count
  • Protective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium Selenite / therapeutic use*
  • Thrombocytosis / etiology
  • Thrombocytosis / prevention & control
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Protective Agents
  • Vitamin E
  • Mercuric Chloride
  • Sodium Selenite