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Nuclear magnetic resonance and potentiometric studies of the complexation of methylmercury(II) by dithiols

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posted on 2023-05-25, 22:32 authored by Arnold, AP, Canty, AJ, Reid, RS, Rabenstein, DL
Complexation of methylmercury, CH3Hg(II), by 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), 2,3-dimercaptopropanesulfonate (DMPS, Unithiol), dithioerythritol (DTE), and 2,3-dimercaptopropanol (British Anti-Lewisite, BAL) has been studied by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and by potentiometric titration. In the nmr study, the equilibrium constants for displacement of mercaptoacetate from its CH3Hg(II) complex by the dithiols were determined over a wide pH range, from mercaptoacetate chemical shift data. Similar competition reactions between the dithiols and mercaptoethanol were used in the potentiometric study. Using previously determined CH3Hg(II) formation constants for the competing ligands, equilibrium constants for the formation of mono-and bis-CH3Hg(II) complexes with the dithiols have been determined. The formation constants for the mono-CH3Hg(II) complexes with the vicinal dithiols BAL and DMPS are significantly higher than expected by consideration of the basicity of the sulfhydryl donors, in comparison with those for DMSA, non-vicinal DTE, and monothiols. We interpret this to indicate chelation of CH3Hg(II) by BAL and DMPS but not by DMSA. The conditional formation constants at physiological pH are discussed with reference to the effectiveness of BAL, DMPS, and DMSA as antidotes for methylmercury poisoning. In particular, the constants obtained indicate that, for dithiol antidotes at concentrations greater than that of methylmercury(II), methylmercury(II) complexes formed at physiological pH are of 1:1 stoichiometry. For BAL, a substantial proportion of the complex will be in the neutral form, in contrast to DMPS and DMSA which form anionic species only.


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Canadian Journal of Chemistry



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