Document Detail

Mercury-reactive lymphocytes in peripheral blood are not a marker for dental amalgam associated disease.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11809324     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: The popular press and publications associated with alternative medicine increasingly report that chronic ill health, particularly myalgic encephalitis like conditions, are associated with mercury amalgam fillings. There are no scientifically proven definitive tests to support these claims. One of the more scientific tests in vogue is to assess the level of blood-borne mercury-reactive lymphocytes and to conclude that patients with high levels have developed a hypersensitivity reaction to mercury. The objective of this study was to determine the diagnostic value of this test. METHODS: This study represents an open comparison of mercury-reactive lymphocyte levels in healthy control individuals with those in patients complaining of symptoms associated with adverse effects of dental metal amalgam fillings. The healthy control group consisted of 51 male and female individuals, aged between 12 and 82 years, with and without dental amalgam fillings. The patient group consisted of 70 male and female individuals, aged between 12 and 87 years, and with the exception of one patient, with three or more mercury amalgam fillings of more than 1 year's duration. In vitro lymphocyte responses to mercury, and to nickel, as an example of a metal commonly associated with hypersensitivity reactions, and to more conventional protein antigens were determined. RESULTS: In the blood of patients and controls, there were similar levels of specifically reactive lymphocytes to all of the in vitro stimulating agents, but there were significantly higher numbers of sub-normal and non-responders within the patient group. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence and quantity of mercury-reactive lymphocytes in the blood are not pathogenic markers of illness associated with dental metal amalgams, but may rather reflect exposure to mercury. The clinical relevance of the decreased in vitro lymphocyte responses in the patient group needs further investigation.
D C Henderson; R Clifford; D M Young
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of dentistry     Volume:  29     ISSN:  0300-5712     ISO Abbreviation:  J Dent     Publication Date:  2001 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-01-25     Completed Date:  2002-02-28     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0354422     Medline TA:  J Dent     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  469-74     Citation Subset:  D; IM    
Imperial College School of Medicine, Department of Immunology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Antigens / immunology
Biological Markers / blood
Case-Control Studies
Cell Division
Chronic Disease
Dental Amalgam / adverse effects*
Dental Restoration, Permanent
Hypersensitivity / blood,  immunology
Isoantigens / immunology
Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
Mercury / adverse effects,  immunology*
Middle Aged
Nickel / immunology
Statistics as Topic
T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
Tetanus Toxoid / immunology
Tuberculin / immunology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Antigens; 0/Biological Markers; 0/Isoantigens; 0/Tetanus Toxoid; 0/Tuberculin; 7439-97-6/Mercury; 7440-02-0/Nickel; 8049-85-2/Dental Amalgam

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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