Is there evidence that ethylmercury readily crosses the blood-brain barrier?

Scientific research can provide us with factual, repeatable, measurable, and determinable results. As such, scientific research can provide information that can be used in the decision-making process in the care of patients and in public policy. Although it has been suggested that ethylmercury (C2H5Hg+)-containing compounds do not cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), the goal of this Faqtron is to examine studies undertaken as well as the literature that addresses the question as to whether ethylmercury-containing compounds cross the BBB.


There is evidence that ethylmercury readily crosses the blood-brain barrier,

22 studies from 1971 to 2019 show that exposure to ethylmercury-containing compounds (intravenously, intraperitoneally, topically, subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intranasally administered) results in accumulation of mercury in the brain. In total, these studies indicate that ethylmercury-containing compounds and Thimerosal readily cross the BBB, convert, for the most part, to highly toxic inorganic mercury-containing compounds, which significantly and persistently bind to tissues in the brain, even in the absence of concurrent detectable blood mercury levels.



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