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This work investigated the toxicity of inorganic mercury and zinc preventive effects in female rats sacrificed 12 or 48 h after HgCl2 exposure. Female Wistar rats were subcutaneously injected with ZnCl2 (27 mg/kg) or saline (0.9 %), and 24 h later they were exposed to HgCl2 (5 mg/kg) or saline (0.9 %). Rats sacrificed 12 hours after Hg administration presented an increase in kidney weight and a decrease in renal ascorbic acid levels. Zinc pretreatment prevented the renal weight increase. Rats sacrificed 48 h after Hg exposure presented a decrease in body weight gain, an increase in renal weight, a decrease in renal δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity, an increase in serum creatinine and urea levels, and a decrease in kidney total thiol levels. Zinc pretreatment partly prevented the decrease in body weight gain and increase in creatinine levels, in addition to totally preventing renal δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase inhibition. Mercury accumulation in the kidney and liver in both periods was observed after Hg administration. These results show the different Hg effects along the time of intoxication, and a considerably preventive effect of zinc against Hg toxicity.
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