Persistent mercury in nerve cells 16 years after metallic mercury poisoning

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1988 Nov-Dec;14(6):443-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.1988.tb01336.x.


A male subject, after exposure to mercury metal at work in 1968, developed classical signs of mercurialism from which he made a slow clinical recovery. He subsequently developed psychoneurotic symptoms and became an alcoholic; he never returned to work and died in 1984. No histological changes relevant to mercury intoxication were found in the brain, but staining by Danscher & Schroeder's method for mercury showed many positively staining lysosomal dense bodies in a large proportion of nerve cells, and the presence of mercury was confirmed by elemental X-ray analysis. The mercury content of the brain was increased, much of it being present in colloidal form.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / metabolism*
  • Mercury Poisoning / pathology
  • Mercury Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / metabolism*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Time Factors