How does mercury toxicity damage the nervous system?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: David A Olson, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Mercury damages the nervous system through several potential mechanisms. Mercury binds to sulfhydryl groups and incapacitates key enzymes involved in the cellular stress response, protein repair, and oxidative damage prevention. [10] Methylmercury disrupts the muscarinic cholinergic systems in the brainstem and occipital cortices as well. [11]


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