Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Erik Baatrup

Histochemical demonstration of mercury in the olfactory system of salmon (Salmo salar L.) following treatments with dietary methylmercuric chloride and dissolved mercuric chloride.

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  • Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Zoophysiology
The deposition of organic and inorganic mercury compounds was studied histochemically in the salmon (Salmo salar L.) olfactory system. One group of salmon was given fodder pellets containing methylmercuric chloride (CH3HgCl, 99 micrograms Hg/g) for 4 weeks. Other groups of fish were exposed to dissolved mercuric chloride (HgCl2, 270 micrograms Hg/liter) for 2, 6, and 12 hr, respectively. In both series of experiments, the radioisotope 203Hg was included in order to determine the accumulation of mercury in the olfactory system. Gamma-spectrometry showed that both mercury compounds accumulated in the olfactory rosettes and their nerves. Tissue sections from the rosettes and olfactory nerves were subjected to autometallographic silver enhancement, thereby rendering mercury deposits visible for light and electron microscopy. Microscopic analysis demonstrated an intense and comprehensive Hg deposition in the axons and Schwann cells of both methylmercury- and inorganic mercury-exposed fish. On the other hand, the two mercury compounds showed different staining patterns in the sensory epithelium. The silver grains evoked by methylmercury were localized predominantly in lysosome-like inclusions within the receptor cells, while those produced by HgCl2 exposure were situated mainly along the borders of neighboring cells. The present findings that organic and inorganic mercury compounds were deposited in the olfactory system along its whole length, from the receptor cell apices to the brain, support the electrophysiological results presented elsewhere (Baatrup et al., 1990, Ecotoxicol. Environ. Safety 20, 269-276).
Udgivelsesdato: 1990-Dec
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Pages (from-to)277-89
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1991

    Research areas

  • Administration, Oral, Animals, Male, Mercuric Chloride, Mercury Radioisotopes, Methylmercury Compounds, Olfactory Mucosa, Olfactory Nerve, Salmon

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