RE: Mercury poisoning tissue stain?

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From:Alex Brown <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Hi Mark,
	A real horror story !
       I didn't think there was a method which demonstrated mercury per
se, but I was curious enough to dig out 'the books'.  In brief,
according to 'Histochemistry, Theoretical and Applied' by Pearse (1985)
- it is normally the salts of mercury which are demonstrated. The older
methods used hydrogen or ammonium sulphide to convert the salts to black
mercuric sulphide or metallic mercury. There's a reference to a paper by
Wockel et al (1961), which used a sulphide- silver method to demonstrate
deposits in a rat kidney in a case of experimental mercury poisoning.

          There are also reduction methods using e.g. stannous chloride
to reduce mercurous and mercuric salts.
          Diphenylcarbazide and diphenylcarbazone have also been used.
The method of Brandino (1927) according to Lison (1953) showed only
mineral compounds of mercury and not mercury in organic combination. The
specificity of the method is apparently very much pH dependant or else
other heavy metals will be demonstrated.
       I can't help with control tissue, but if you are interested in
any of the above I could send you the full references. I suspect someone
may come up with a more recent method for mercury though.
	Hope this was at least of interest :)

			Alex Brown
			Crosshouse Hospital
			Kilmarnock, Scotland.
From: A. Mark Briones
To: HistoNet Server
Subject: Mercury poisoning tissue stain?
Date: 09 October 1998 03:00

Hi all -
I appreciate the information passed around on this list server.  As
early, I also find myself laughing outloud at "life in the lab".

On a serious note, we are doing a postmortem on a baby who died of
poisoning.  The mother died days earlier.  Can you believe this, she was
boiling off mercury to concentrate gold from her prospecting?  I know
there's gold to be had for a price in the mountains, here in California
but at what price??!!

Has anyone been able to demonstrate tissue deposition in acute, possibly
chronic mercury poisoning cases? Does anyone have a good tissue stain
mercury deposits, our pathologist would like to demonstrate deposition
if it
can be stained? Kidney? Liver? Brain?  Are there any tissues in anyone's
"banks" that has demonstrated positive mercury staining so I could
any finding on this unfortunate case?  Thanks.

Mark Briones
Valley Children's Hospital
Madera CA USA

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