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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Traces of mercury in organs from primates with amalgam fillings

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In order to trace possible accumulations of mercury, three vervet monkeys received occlusal amalgam fillings, three others maxillary bone implants of amalgam, and three untreated monkeys served as controls. One year later all animals were sacrificed by transcardial perfusion with glutaraldehyde. Tissue sections from different organs were subjected to silver amplification by autometallography and analyzed at light and electron microscopical levels. It was found that amalgam fillings (total, 0.7-1.2 g) caused deposition of mercury in the following tissues: spinal ganglia, anterior pituitary, adrenal, medulla, liver, kidneys, lungs, and intestinal lymph glands. In monkeys with maxillary silver amalgam implants (total, 0.1-0.3 g), mercury was found in the same organs except for liver, lungs, and intestinal lymph glands. Organs from the three control animals were devoid of precipitate. To evaluate whether silver released from the corroding amalgam fillings added to the staining pattern, tissue sections were exposed to potassium cyanide prior to being autometallographically developed. This treatment removes all traces of silver, leaving mercury sulfide accumulation untouched. By comparing sections that had been exposed to cyanide with untreated parallels no difference was seen in the pattern confirming that mercury was the only catalyst present in the tissue. These results strongly support what has been suggested previously that dental fillings in primates cause absorption of mercury released from amalgam fillings through lungs and intestinal tract, and that depending on exposure mercury is distributed to most organs and will eventually be found in the central nervous system. The present data also show that silver released from the corroding filling is not absorbed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Volume52
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
ISSN0014-4800
Publication statusPublished - 1990

    Research areas

  • Animals, Dental Amalgam, Ganglia, Spinal, Haplorhini, Intestines, Lung, Maxilla, Mercury, Organ Specificity, Prostheses and Implants, Silver

ID: 64964033