Mechanism of protection by zinc against mercuric chloride toxicity in rats: Effects of zinc and mercury on glutathionine metabolism

Hideki Fukino, Masami Hirai, Yu-Mei Hsueh, S. Moriyasu, Yasuhiro Yamane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the mechanism by which zinc suppresses mercury toxicity, the effects of zinc and mercury on glutathione (GSH) metabolism in the rat kidney were studied. When the time course of GSH level in the rat kidney was examined at 2, 6, and 12 h after treatment of rats with both metals, an increase of GSH was found and was apparently related to the activation of some GSH-associated enzymes. In the kidney of rats treated with both metals, the response of the protective function involving GSH and GSH-associated enzymes depended on the magnitude of mercury toxicity but appeared to be independent of the zinc dosage. The administration of diethyl maleate (DEM), which depletes GSH, increased lipid peroxidation and mercury toxicity concomitantly with a decrease of GSH level in the kidney of rats treated with zinc and mercury. In conclusion, the data suggest that an increased GSH level in the kidney resulting from the activation of GSH-associated enzymes plays a role in the protective effect of zinc against mercury toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution

Cite this