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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 681016, 9 pages
Research Article

Dietary Mercury Exposure Resulted in Behavioral Differences in Mice Contaminated with Fish-Associated Methylmercury Compared to Methylmercury Chloride Added to Diet

1Bordeaux University-CNRS, UMR EPOC 5805, Arcachon Marine Station, place du Docteur Peyneau, 33120 Arcachon, France
2Pathology Section, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, National Institute for Minamata Disease, 4058-18 Hama, Minamata, Kumamoto 867-0008, Japan

Received 16 April 2012; Revised 12 June 2012; Accepted 19 June 2012

Academic Editor: João B.T. Rocha

Copyright © 2012 Jean-Paul Bourdineaud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Methylmercury (MeHg) is a potent neurotoxin, and humans are mainly exposed to this pollutant through fish consumption. However, in classical toxicological studies, pure methylmercury chloride (MeHgCl) is injected, given to drink or incorporated within feed assuming that its effects are identical to those of MeHg naturally associated to fish. In the present study, we wanted to address the question whether a diet containing MeHg associated to fish could result in observable adverse effects in mice as compared to a diet containing the same concentration of MeHg added pure to the diet and whether beneficial nutriments from fish were able to counterbalance the deleterious effects of fish-associated mercury, if any. After two months of feeding, the fish-containing diet resulted in significant observable effects as compared to the control and MeHg-containing diets, encompassing altered behavioral performances as monitored in a Y-shaped maze and an open field, and an increased dopamine metabolic turnover in hippocampus, despite the fact that the fish-containing diet was enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids and selenium compared to the fish-devoid diets.