How do genetics affect the pathophysiology of mercury toxicity?

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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Finally, the effects of mercury may be modified by a person’s genetic milieu. For example, the interaction between mercury exposure and a genetic polymorphism in heme biosynthesis (coproporphyrinogen oxidase) yielded additive impairments on a test of visual-motor skills in dental workers, [16] and, more recently, additive impairments were documented between urinary mercury levels and a serotonin transporter polymorphism on motor control tasks in a similar population. [17] Furthermore, certain heat shock protein polymorphisms have been associated with symptomatic mercury toxicity compared with asymptomatic, but, similarly exposed, controls, [18] in particular single-nucleotide polymorphisms of metallothionein (a group of heavy metal-binding proteins), have been associated with reduced hair mercury levels among dental professionals. [19]


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