Neurotransmitter level changes in domestic ducks(Shaoxing duck) growing up in typical mercury contaminated area in China

JI Xiu-ling , YANG Liu , SHEN Zhe-min , CHENG Jin-ping , JIN Gui-wen , QU Li-ya , WANG Wen-hua


Received April 26, 2004,Revised May 27, 2004, Accepted , Available online

Volume 17,2005,Pages 256-258

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The neurotransmitter level changes of ducks exposed 8-month in a mercury-polluted site(Wanshan, China) and a reference site ( Shanghai, China) were examined. Chemical analyses showed both higher mercury and selenium concentrations in the organ of Wanshan ducks. An increased content of acetylcholine(ACh) in brain and blood and a decreased activity of acetylcholinesterase(AChE) in blood were observed. Moreover, there was an increasing trend for nitric oxide synthase(NOS) activity and nitric oxide(NO) production in duck brain, but a reduction of NOS activity in duck serum. The possible explanations were due to the interactive effect of selenium accumulation and the sublethal exposure level of mercury in Wanshan area. The present study showed that AChE and NOS were sensitive to mercury contamination of real circumstance, suggesting that these two indexes have the potential to be biomarkers in assessment of health effects by mercury contamination.

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