Prenatal exposure to organomercury, thimerosal, persistently impairs the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems in the rat brain: implications for association with developmental disorders.
Brain Dev. 2013 Mar ;35(3):261-4. Epub 2012 Jun 1. PMID: 22658806
Thimerosal, an organomercury compound, has been widely used as a preservative. Therefore, concerns have been raised about its neurotoxicity. We recently demonstrated perturbation of early serotonergic development by prenatal exposure to thimerosal (Ida-Eto et al. (2011) ). Here, we investigated whether prenatal thimerosal exposure causes persistent impairment after birth. Analysis on postnatal day 50 showed significant increase in hippocampal serotonin following thimerosal administration on embryonic day 9. Furthermore, not only serotonin, striatal dopamine was significantly increased. These results indicate that embryonic exposure to thimerosal produces lasting impairment of brain monoaminergic system, and thus every effort should be made to avoid the use of thimerosal.