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Record Information
Creation Date2006-08-13 02:03:34 UTC
Update Date2016-02-11 01:06:24 UTC
Secondary Accession NumbersNone
Metabolite Identification
Common NameMercury
DescriptionMercury is a metal that is a liquid at room temperature. Mercury has a long and interesting history deriving from its use in medicine and industry, with the resultant toxicity produced. In high enough doses, all forms of mercury can produce toxicity. The most devastating tragedies related to mercury toxicity in recent history include Minamata Bay and Niagata, Japan in the 1950s, and Iraq in the 1970s. More recent mercury toxicity issues include the extreme toxicity of the dimethylmercury compound noted in 1998, the possible toxicity related to dental amalgams, and the disproved relationship between vaccines and autism related to the presence of the mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal. Hair has been used in many studies as a bioindicator of mercury exposure for human populations. At the time of hair formation, mercury from the blood capillaries penetrates into the hair follicles. As hair grows approximately 1 cm each month, mercury exposure over time is recapitulated in hair strands. Mercury levels in hair closest to the scalp reflect the most recent exposure, while those farthest from the scalp are representative of previous blood concentrations. Sequential analyses of hair mercury have been useful for identifying seasonal variations over time in hair mercury content, which may be the result of seasonal differences in bioavailability of fish and differential consumption of piscivorous and herbivorous fish species. Knowledge of the relation between fish-eating practices and hair mercury levels is particularly important for adequate mitigation strategies. Physiologically, it exists as an ion in the body. Methyl mercury is well absorbed, and because the biological half-life is long, the body burden in humans may reach high levels. People who frequently eat contaminated seafood can acquire mercury concentrations that are potentially dangerous to the fetus in pregnant women. The dose-response relationships have been extensively studied, and the safe levels of exposure have tended to decline. Individual methyl mercury exposure is usually determined by analysis of mercury in blood and hair. Whilst the clinical features of acute mercury poisoning have been well described, chronic low dose exposure to mercury remains poorly characterised and its potential role in various chronic disease states remains controversial. Low molecular weight thiols, i.e. sulfhydryl containing molecules such as cysteine, are emerging as important factors in the transport and distribution of mercury throughout the body due to the phenomenon of "Molecular Mimicry" and its role in the molecular transport of mercury. Chelation agents such as the dithiols sodium 2,3-dimercaptopropanesulfate (DMPS) and meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) are the treatments of choice for mercury toxicity. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a disulfide, and its metabolite dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), a dithiol, have also been shown to have chelation properties when used in an appropriate manner. Whilst N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and glutathione (GSH) have been recommended in the treatment of mercury toxicity in the past, an examination of available evidence suggests these agents may in fact be counterproductive. Zinc and selenium have also been shown to exert protective effects against mercury toxicity, most likely mediated by induction of the metal binding proteins metallothionein and selenoprotein-P. Evidence suggests however that the co-administration of selenium and dithiol chelation agents during treatment may also be counter-productive. Finally, the issue of diagnostic testing for chronic, historical or low dose mercury poisoning is considered including an analysis of the influence of ligand interactions and nutritional factors upon the accuracy of "chelation challenge" tests. (PMID: 17448359 , 17408840 , 17193738 ).
Mercuric ionChEBI
Mercury(2+) ionChEBI
Mercury(II) cationChEBI
Chemical FormulaHg
Average Molecular Weight200.59
Monoisotopic Molecular Weight201.970625604
IUPAC Namemercury(2+) ion
Traditional Namemercury(2+) ion
CAS Registry Number7439-97-6
InChI Identifier
Chemical Taxonomy
DescriptionThis compound belongs to the class of chemical entities known as homogeneous transition metal compounds. These are inorganic compounds containing only metal atoms,with the largest atom being a transition metal atom.
KingdomChemical entities
Super ClassInorganic compounds
ClassHomogeneous metal compounds
Sub ClassHomogeneous transition metal compounds
Direct ParentHomogeneous transition metal compounds
Alternative Parents
  • Homogeneous transition metal
  • Inorganic mercury compound
Molecular FrameworkNot Available
External Descriptors
StatusDetected and Quantified
OriginNot Available
  • Osmolyte, enzyme cofactor, signalling
ApplicationNot Available
Cellular locationsNot Available
Physical Properties
Experimental Properties
Melting Point-38.8 °CNot Available
Boiling PointNot AvailableNot Available
Water Solubility6e-05 mg/mL at 25 °CNot Available
LogP0.62DAYLIGHT (1999)
Predicted Properties
Physiological Charge2ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count0ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area0 Å2ChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count0ChemAxon
Refractivity0 m3·mol-1ChemAxon
Polarizability1.78 Å3ChemAxon
Number of Rings0ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterYesChemAxon
Veber's RuleYesChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleYesChemAxon
Spectrum TypeDescriptionSplash Key
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, NegativeNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, NegativeNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, NegativeNot Available
Biological Properties
Cellular LocationsNot Available
Biofluid Locations
  • Blood
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
  • Urine
Tissue LocationNot Available
PathwaysNot Available
Normal Concentrations
BloodDetected and Quantified0.007 +/- 0.0036 uMElderly (>65 years old)BothNormal details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.00302(0.00153-0.00480) uMNot AvailableBothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.00777(0.00431-0.01233) uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0116 +/- 0.0055 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.00518 (0.00477-0.00568) uMAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.00209 (0.00181-0.00241) uMChildren (1-13 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0029 +/- 0.0029 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal details
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)Detected and Quantified0.004 +/- 0.002 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal details
UrineDetected and Quantified0.003 +/- 0.004 umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
    • West Cadwell, N.J...
    • Basel, Switzerlan...
UrineDetected and Quantified0.000286 (0.000256-0.000313) umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
UrineDetected and Quantified0.000222 (0.000198-0.000248) umol/mmol creatinineChildren (1-13 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
UrineDetected and Quantified0.00041 +/- 0.00034 umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal details
Abnormal Concentrations
BloodDetected and Quantified0.019 +/- 0.012 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothMultiple sclerosis details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.01 +/- 0.0083 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothParkinson's disease details
BloodDetected and Quantified>3.5 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothAcute mercury poisoning details
BloodDetected and Quantified1.2 (0.5-1.5) uMAdult (>18 years old)BothChronic mercury (vapor) poisoning details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0088 +/- 0.0039 uMElderly (>65 years old)BothAlzheimer's disease details
UrineDetected and Quantified>0.3 umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)BothChronic mercury (vapor) poisoning details
Associated Disorders and Diseases
Disease References
Alzheimer's disease
  1. Bocca B, Forte G, Petrucci F, Pino A, Marchione F, Bomboi G, Senofonte O, Giubilei F, Alimonti A: Monitoring of chemical elements and oxidative damage in patients affected by Alzheimer's disease. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):197-203. [16244393 ]
Multiple sclerosis
  1. Forte G, Visconti A, Santucci S, Ghazaryan A, Figa-Talamanca L, Cannoni S, Bocca B, Pino A, Violante N, Alimonti A, Salvetti M, Ristori G: Quantification of chemical elements in blood of patients affected by multiple sclerosis. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):213-6. [16244395 ]
Parkinson's disease
  1. Forte G, Alimonti A, Pino A, Stanzione P, Brescianini S, Brusa L, Sancesario G, Violante N, Bocca B: Metals and oxidative stress in patients with Parkinson's disease. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):189-95. [16244392 ]
Associated OMIM IDs
DrugBank IDNot Available
DrugBank Metabolite IDNot Available
Phenol Explorer Compound IDNot Available
Phenol Explorer Metabolite IDNot Available
FoodDB IDFDB003780
KNApSAcK IDNot Available
Chemspider ID24800
KEGG Compound IDC00703
BioCyc IDCPD-29
BiGG IDNot Available
Wikipedia LinkMercury
NuGOwiki LinkHMDB03625
Metagene LinkHMDB03625
METLIN IDNot Available
PubChem Compound26623
ChEBI ID16793
Synthesis ReferenceNot Available
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)Download (PDF)
General References
  1. Clifton JC 2nd: Mercury exposure and public health. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2007 Apr;54(2):237-69, viii. [17448359 ]
  2. Rooney JP: The role of thiols, dithiols, nutritional factors and interacting ligands in the toxicology of mercury. Toxicology. 2007 May 20;234(3):145-56. Epub 2007 Mar 1. [17408840 ]
  3. Srogi K: Mercury content of hair in different populations relative to fish consumption. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2007;189:107-30. [17193738 ]