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Interdiscip Toxicol. 2012 Sep;5(3):159-61. doi: 10.2478/v10102-012-0026-1.

Effect of thimerosal, methylmercury, and mercuric chloride in Jurkat T Cell Line.

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Italian Association for Metals and Biocompatibility Research - A.I.R.M.E.B., Via A. Banfi, 4, 20122 Milan, Italy.


Mercury is a ubiquitous environmental toxicant that causes a wide range of adverse health effects in humans. Three forms of mercury exist: elemental, inorganic and organic. Each of them has its own profile of toxicity. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of thimerosal, a topical antiseptic and preservative in vaccines routinely given to children, methyl mercury, and mercuric chloride on cellular viability measured by MTT in Jurkat T cells, a human T leukemia cell line. The treatment of Jurkat T cells with thimerosal caused a significant decrease in cellular viability at 1 μM (25%, p<0.05; IC50: 10 μM). Methyl mercury exhibited a significant decrease in cellular viability at 50 μM (33%, p<0.01; IC50: 65 μM). Mercuric chloride (HgCl2) did not show any significant change in cellular survival. Our findings showed that contrary to thimerosal and methyl mercury, mercuric chloride did not modify Jurkat T cell viability.


Cell Death/drug effects; Cell Survival/drug effects; MTT; T-Lymphocytes/drug effects; mitochondrial membranes/drug effects; organic mercury compounds

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