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Pharmacol Toxicol. 1991 Jun;68(6):440-4.

Effect of organic and inorganic mercury on human sperm motility.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


The effects of mercuric chloride and methyl mercuric chloride on the motility of human spermatozoa in vitro were investigated. Organic as well as inorganic mercury compounds decreased the percentage of motile spermatozoa. After 15 min. incubation with 40 microM mercuric chloride a significant decrease in sperm motility was observed. Less than 5% of spermatozoa were motile after 30 min. of exposure to 20 microM methyl mercuric chloride. These effects could not be attenuated by addition of 5 microM sodium selenite. The ultrastructural localization of mercury was demonstrated by autometallography. Silver-enhanced mercury deposits could be demonstrated only in spermatozoa exposed to inorganic mercury. In these cells mercury grains were most abundant in membranes of midpiece and tail.

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