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Vascular Dysfunction Induced by Mercury Exposure

Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization Nishiniigata Chuo Hospital, Niigata 950-2085, Japan
Department of Neurology, Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu 501-1194, Japan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2435;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vascular Endothelial Cells)
PDF [554 KB, uploaded 16 May 2019]


Methylmercury (MeHg) causes severe damage to the central nervous system, and there is increasing evidence of the association between MeHg exposure and vascular dysfunction, hemorrhage, and edema in the brain, but not in other organs of patients with acute MeHg intoxication. These observations suggest that MeHg possibly causes blood–brain barrier (BBB) damage. MeHg penetrates the BBB into the brain parenchyma via active transport systems, mainly the l-type amino acid transporter 1, on endothelial cell membranes. Recently, exposure to mercury has significantly increased. Numerous reports suggest that long-term low-level MeHg exposure can impair endothelial function and increase the risks of cardiovascular disease. The most widely reported mechanism of MeHg toxicity is oxidative stress and related pathways, such as neuroinflammation. BBB dysfunction has been suggested by both in vitro and in vivo models of MeHg intoxication. Therapy targeted at both maintaining the BBB and suppressing oxidative stress may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for MeHg intoxication. This paper reviews studies on the relationship between MeHg exposure and vascular dysfunction, with a special emphasis on the BBB. View Full-Text
Keywords: blood–brain barrier; methylmercury; vascular endothelial growth factor; l-type amino acid transporter 1 blood–brain barrier; methylmercury; vascular endothelial growth factor; l-type amino acid transporter 1

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Takahashi, T.; Shimohata, T. Vascular Dysfunction Induced by Mercury Exposure. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2435.

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