Acta Neurol Scand. 1998 Dec;98(6):461-5.
Chronic inorganic mercury induced peripheral neuropathy.
Chu CC, Huang CC, Ryu SJ, Wu TN.
Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan.
We report the clinical features, electrophysiological studies, and morphometric analysis of sural nerve pathology in a patient with polyneuropathy due to inorganic mercury intoxication. He developed slowly progressive generalized paralysis of all limbs after 3 months ingestion of herb drugs which contained mercuric sulfate.
Electrophysiologic studies revealed axonal polyneuropathy involving both motor and sensory fibers. Sural nerve biopsy demonstrated axonal degeneration with demyelination and a predominant loss of large myelinated fibers.
His muscle strength showed only mild improvement after 2 years' follow-up.
We concluded that inorganic mercury exposure may induce severe axonal sensorimotor polyneuropathy in humans and that neurological deficits may persist in severe cases.