Mutagenicity Following Administration of Dimethyl Mercury in Swiss Male Mice

Man M. Varma
Elbert L. Dage
S. R. Joshi

DOI: 10.2190/CBKB-E2PE-5LGW-Q9VP


Over the past decade the consumption of mercury by industry has increased rapidly. In the environmental system, by the process of biotransformation, mercury is converted to more toxic alkyl forms, which are accumulated and magnified in higher organisms through food chain.

Following a preliminary toxicity study 20 random bred Swiss male mice, 56 days old, were injected 50 mg/Kg of dimethyl mercury intraperitoneally. Ten males served as concurrent controls. After a 24 hour recovery period each test and control male was then individually caged for one week with three untreated virgin 8 week old females. Females were replaced weekly and consecutively with fresh animals for a total of six weeks. During all mating periods, mice were fed laboratory chow and had access to tap water ad libitum. All females were autopsied on day 13 of exposure to males. They were scored for pregnancy and implants comprising of normal implants, late fetal deaths, and early fetal deaths; the latter appeared as black deciduomata.

DMM resulted in reduced fertility and a decrease in mean litter size. Genetic damage occurred in spermatozoa and spermatids, postmeiotic stages of spermatogenesis.

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