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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Quantitative evaluation of urinary porphyrins as a measure of kidney mercury content and mercury body burden during prolonged methylmercury exposure in rats.

Changes in urinary porphyrin excretion patterns (porphyrin profiles) during prolonged mercury exposure are attributable to mercury accumulation in the kidney and to consequent effects of Hg2+ on renal porphyrin metabolism. In the present study, we evaluated the quantitative relationship of urinary porphyrin concentrations to mobilizable renal mercury content, using the metal chelator 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS) to modulate kidney mercury levels. Rats exposed to methylmercury hydroxide (MMH) at 10 ppm in drinking water for 6 weeks were treated with up to 3 consecutive doses of DMPS (100mg/kg, ip) at 72-h intervals. Consistent with previous findings, the concentrations of pentacarboxyl- (5-) and copro- (4-) porphyrins and of an atypical porphyrin specific to mercury exposure, precoproporphyrin, were significantly elevated in urine of MMH-exposed rats, compared with that of rats exposed to distilled water (dH2O) for the same period. Consecutive DMPS treatments of MMH-exposed rats significantly decreased kidney concentrations of total, as well as Hg2+ and CH3Hg+ species, and promoted increased urinary mercury excretion. Concomitantly, DMPS treatment decreased both kidney and urinary porphyrin concentrations, consistent with depletion of renal mercury levels. Regression analyses demonstrated a high correlation (r approximately 0.9) between prechelation urinary porphyrins and postchelation urinary mercury levels and also between prechelation urinary porphyrins and prechelation kidney mercury concentrations. These findings demonstrate that urinary porphyrin concentrations relate quantitatively to DMPS-mobilizable mercury in the kidney and, therefore, serve as a biochemical measure of renal mercury content.[1]


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