The interaction of mercury with cadmium and zinc in mammalian embryonic development

Thomas F. Gale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Mercuric acetate (Hg) together with either cadmium sulfate (Cd) or zinc sulfate (Zn) were administered intravenously to pregnant golden hamsters on the eighth gestation day in order to study their effects upon embryogenesis. Upon sacrifice on either Day 12 or 14 of gestation, the resorption and malformation rates were determined and all living embryos were scrutinized for gross malformations. Several generalizations can be made regarding these experiments. (1) The detrimental effects of the Hg + Cd combinations are much more severe than those of the Hg + Zn combinations. (2) With both combinations the severity of the embryotoxicity depends upon the method by which the metals are introduced and to some extent upon the dosage level of the Hg. (3) The protective value of Zn against the embryopathic effects of Hg is also determined by the method of administration of the two metals. (4) Both the types of malformations observed after the administration of either Cd or Hg alone are detected in the animals treated with Hg + Cd. (5) The Hg + Zn combinations produce only a few miscellaneous malformations. The results are briefly correlated with known biological actions of Cd, Hg, and Zn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1973
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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