Synergistic neurotoxicity induced by methylmercury and quercetin in mice

Roberta de P Martins, Hugo de C Braga, Aline P. da Silva, Juliana B. Dalmarco, Andreza F. de Bem, Adair Roberto S dos Santos, Alcir L. Dafre, Moacir G. Pizzolatti, Alexandra Latini, Michael Aschner, Marcelo Farina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Methylmercury (MeHg) is a highly neurotoxic pollutant, whose mechanisms of toxicity are related to its pro-oxidative properties. A previous report showed under in vivo conditions the neuroprotective effects of plants of the genus Polygala against MeHg-induced neurotoxicity. Moreover, the flavonoid quercetin, isolated from Polygala sabulosa, displayed beneficial effects against MeHg-induced oxidative damage under in vitro conditions. In this study, we sought for potential beneficial effects of quercetin against the neurotoxicity induced by MeHg in Swiss female mice. Animals were divided into six experimental groups: control, quercetin low dose (5 mg/kg), quercetin high dose (50 mg/kg), MeHg (40 mg/L, in tap water), MeHg + quercetin low dose, and MeHg + quercetin high dose. After the treatment (21 days), a significant motor deficit was observed in MeHg + quercetin groups. Biochemical parameters related to oxidative stress showed that the simultaneous treatment with quercetin and MeHg caused a higher cerebellar oxidative damage when compared to the individual exposures. MeHg plus quercetin elicited a higher cerebellar lipid peroxidation than MeHg or quercetin alone. The present results indicate that under in vivo conditions quercetin and MeHg cause additive pro-oxidative effects toward the mice cerebellum and that such phenomenon is associated with the observed motor deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-649
Number of pages5
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Methylmercury
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Polygala
  • Quercetin


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