Toxicology of Alkylmercury Compounds
Methylmercury is a global pollutant and potent neurotoxin whose abundance in the food chain mandates additional studies on the consequences and mechanisms of its toxicity to the central nervous system. Formulation of our new hypotheses was predicated on our appreciation for (a) the remarkable affinity of mercurials for the anionic form of sulfhydryl (-SH) groups, and (b) the essential role of thiols in protein biochemistry. The present chapter addresses pathways to human exposure of various mercury compounds, highlighting their neurotoxicity and potential involvement in neurotoxic injury and neurodegenerative changes, both in the developing and senescent brain. Mechanisms that trigger these effects are discussed in detail.