How occupational mercury neurotoxicity is affected by genetic factors. A systematic review

Francesco Chirico, Egeria Scoditti, Carlo Viora, Nicola Magnavita

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Occupational exposure to elemental mercury still represents a significant risk in the workplace. The sensitivity of the exposed subjects varies considerably. This study aims to summarize the literature on the role of genetic factors in occupationally exposed cohorts. A systematic search of the literature was carried out on PubMed Central (PMC), MEDLINE, and Google Scholar databases in accordance with the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses” (PRISMA) guidelines, from 1946 to July 2020. Ten cross-sectional studies were included in the review. All studies referred to the polymorphisms that can favour some neurotoxic effects of the metal in occupational cohorts. Some genetic variants may be associated with an increase in the occupational effects of mercury. Given the limited evidence, genetic screening of all mercury-exposed workers is not recommended. However, a personalized search for polymorphisms could be taken into consideration if exposed workers report early neurotoxic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7706
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Biological exposure index
  • Dental workers
  • Genetic screening
  • Goldminers
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Occupational disease
  • Personalized medicine
  • Polymorphism
  • Prevention
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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