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J Postgrad Med. 2011 Jan-Mar;57(1):72-7. doi: 10.4103/0022-3859.74298.

Glutathione as an antioxidant in inorganic mercury induced nephrotoxicity.

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Department of Bioscience, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.


Heavy metal toxicity represents an uncommon but clinically significant medical condition, which if unrecognized or inappropriately treated results in significant morbidity and mortality. Among heavy metals, mercury is recognized as a potent and widely distributed toxicant having the ability to accumulate at various levels of food chain besides possessing ability to cross placental and blood-brain barrier. Symptom picture of mercury (Hg 2+ ) toxicity is characterized mainly by a series of renal disorders. Mechanism of inorganic mercury toxicity includes production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) capable of damaging lipids in membrane, proteins or enzymes in tissues, and DNA to induce oxidative stress as balance between generation, and elimination of ROS is essential for maintaining the functional integrity of a cell. Mitigation of endogenous mercury depends as a part on the presence of antioxidants such as glutathione - most abundant intracellular non-protein thiol that plays a central role in the maintenance of cellular redox status by quenching free radicals generated during oxidative stress. Ability of a cell to survive the threat posed by endogenous mercury represents a biological adaptation fundamental to survival. This review describes the current understanding and the mechanisms involved by different forms of mercury in eliciting their toxicity in kidney along with the knowledge of major intracellular reductant that plays important role in the mitigation of mercury toxicity for the maintenance of homeostasis within the body of living organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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