Low levels of mercury inhibit the respiratory burst in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes

Daniel Malamud, Scott A. Dietrich, Irving M. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this investigation was to examine the effects of low levels of Hg(II) on the respiratory burst of PMNs by monitoring O2 consumption, superoxide radical formation, and chemiluminescence. Hg(II) at concentration of 10-100 ng/ml profoundly inhibited zymosan-stimulated human cells. This inhibition was immediate in onset and occurred with minimal loss of cell viability. Effects of Hg(II) on the PMN respiratory burst were compared with those of Sn, Pb, Se, Au, Ag and Cu. Only in the case of Ag and Cu did the inhibitory effects approach those of Hg. The results indicate that Hg(II) may serve as a specific inhibitor of components of the respiratory burst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1151
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 16 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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