Mineshi Sakomoto, Ph.D
Chief researcher:
Executive Research Fellow, Department of Environment and Public Health

Specialties: Epidemiology, Neurotoxicology
I am conducting both epidemiological and experimental studies based on the tragic experience of methylmercury poisoning called “Minamata disease” in Japan. Research effort is focused on the health effects of methylmercury, especially in the early stage of development when the brain is most vulnerable.

I have also conducted many oversea-field studies requested from WHO etc. The photo shows the “Field survey on mercury exposure of the people in Khongor soum, Mongolia” in February 2009.

Subjects of study and affair
  • Studies on fetal exposure to methylmercury and the coexisting elements(RS-17-07)
  • Cooperation of research in the international organization. (CT-17-06)
  • International Workshop (CT-17-07)
  • Sakamoto M, Kakita A, Domingo JL, Yamazaki H, Oliveira R, Sarrazine S, Eto K, Murata K. (2017) Stable and episodic/bolus patterns of methylmercury exposure on mercury accumulation and histopathologic alterations in the nervous system. Environ Res. 2017 Jan;152:446-453.
  • Ha E, Basu N, Bose-O'Reilly S, Dorea JG, McSorley E,Sakamoto M, Chan HM (2017). Current progress on understanding the impacts of mercury on human health. Environ Res. 2017 Jan;152:419-433.
  • Ser PH, Omi S, Shimizu-Furusawa H, Yasutake A,Sakamoto M, Hachiya N, Konishi S, Nakamura M, Watanabe C. (2017) Differences in the responses of three plasma selenium-containing proteins in relation to methylmercury-exposure through consumption of fish/whales. Toxicol Lett. 2017 Feb 5;267:53-58.

  • Sakamoto M, Murata K, Domingo JL, Yamamoto M, Oliveira RB, Kawakami S, Nakamura M: Implications of mercury concentrations in umbilical cord tissue in relation to maternal hair segments as biomarkers for prenatal exposure to methylmercury. Environ. Res., 2016; 149: 282-287.
  • Iwata T, Takaoka S, Sakamoto M, Maeda E, Nakamura M, Liu XJ, Murata K: Characteristics of hand tremor and postural sway in patients with fetal-type Minamata disease. J. Toxicol. Sci., 2016; 41: 757-763.

  • Sakamoto M, Itai T, Yasutake A, Iwasaki T, Yasunaga G, Fujise Y, Nakamura M, Murata K, Man Chan H, Domingo JL, Marumoto M.(2015) Mercury speciation and selenium in toothed-whale muscles. Environ Res. 2015 Nov;143(Pt A):55-61.
  • Sakamoto M, Chan HM, Domingo JL, Oliveira RB, Kawakami S, Murata K. (2015) Significance of fingernail and toenail mercury concentrations as biomarkers for prenatal methylmercury exposure in relation to segmental hair mercury concentrations. Environ Res. 2015 Jan; 136:289-94.

  • Ilmiawati C, Yoshida T, Itoh T, Nakagi Y, Saijo Y, Sugioka Y, Sakamoto M, Ikegami A, Ogawa M, Kayama F. (2014) Biomonitoring of mercury, cadmium, and lead exposure in Japanese children: a cross-sectional study. Environ Health Prev Med. 2014 Oct 8.
  • Nakamura M, Hachiya N, Murata KY, Nakanishi I, Kondo T, Yasutake A, Miyamoto K, Ser PH, Omi S, Furusawa H, Watanabe C, Usuki F, Sakamoto M.(2014) Methylmercury exposure and neurological outcomes in Taiji residents accustomed to consuming whale meat. Environ Int. 2014 Jul; 68:25-32.
  • Yamamoto M, Yanagisawa R, Motomura E, Nakamura M, Sakamoto M, Takeya M, Eto K. (2014) Increased methylmercury toxicity related to obesity in diabetic KK-Ay mice. J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Aug; 34(8):914-23.
  • Arai K, Maeda E, Iwata T, Tanaka O, Murata K and Sakamoto M. (2014) Impact of dietary behaviors on dyslipidemia in Japanese male workers. Ann Transl Med Epidemiol. 2014; 1(1):1003.

  • Horvat M, Sakamoto M, Chan L, Faganeli J. Mercury in contaminated sites: identification, characterisation, impacts, and remediation. Environ Res. 2013 Aug;125:1.
  • Sakamoto M, Yasutake A, Domingo JL, Chan HM, Kubota M, Murata K (2013) . Relationships between trace element concentrations in chorionic tissue of placenta and umbilical cord tissue: Potential use as indicators for prenatal exposure. Environ Int. 2013 Sep 9;60C:106-111.
  • Sakamoto M, Yasutake A, Kakita A, et al. (2013) Selenomethionine protects against neuronal degeneration by methylmercury in the developing rat cerebrum. Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Mar 19; 47(6):2862-8.

  • Sakamoto M, Murata K, Kakita A, Sasaki M (2012) A review of mercury toxicity with special reference to methylmercury, in:Advances in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology of Mercury (Cai Y, Liu G, O'Driscoll N eds.), Wiley-VCH (Weinheim), pp. 501-516 Chapter 15.
  • Sakamoto M, et al. (2012) Mercury and docosahexaenoic acid levels in maternal and cord blood in relation to segmental maternal hair mercury concentrations at parturition. Environ Int 44:112-117
  • Sakamoto M, et al. (2012) Changes in body burden of mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and selenium in infants during early lactation in comparison with placental transfer. Ecotox Environ Safety 84: 179-184

  • Steckling N, Boese-O'Reilly S, Sakamoto M, et al. Mercury exposure in female artisanal small-scale gold miners (ASGM) in Mongolia: An analysis of human biomonitoring (HBM) data from 2008. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Feb 1; 409(5):994-1000.
  • Murata K, Sakamoto M. Minamata disease.In: Nriagu JO(ed.) Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, vol 3:774-780, Burlington: Elsevier.

  • Sakamoto M (1st), Murata K, Tsuruta K, et al. Retrospectve study on temporal and regional variations of methylmercury concentrations in preserved umbilical cords collected from inhabitants of the Minamata area, Japan Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 73 (2010), 1144-1149.
  • Sakamoto M (1st), Murata K, Kubota M, et al. Mercury and heavy metal profiles of maternal and umbilical cord RBCs in Japanese population. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2010 ;73(1):1-6.

  • Sakamoto M, Murata K, Kubota M, Nakai K, Satoh H. Mercury and heavy metal profiles of maternal and umbilical cord RBCs in Japanese population. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2010 Jan;73(1):1-6. Epub 2009 Oct 12.
  • Cheng J, Gao L, Zhao W, Liu X, Sakamoto M, Wang W. Mercury levels in fisherman and their household members in Zhoushan, China: impact of public health. Sci Total Environ. 407(8):2625-30. (2009)
  • Cheng J, Yang Y, Ma J, Wang W, Liu X, Sakamoto M, Qu Y, Shi W. Assessing noxious effects of dietary exposure to methylmercury, PCBs and Se coexisting in environmentally contaminated rice in male mice.Environ Int. 35(3):619-25. (2009)

  • Sakamoto M, Kubota M, Murata K, Nakai K, Sonoda I, Satoh H. Changes in mercury concentrations of segmental maternal hair during gestation and their correlations with other biomarkers of fetal exposure to methylmercury in the Japanese population. Environ Res. 106(2):270-6 (2008)
  • Carratù MR, Coluccia A, Modafferi AM, Borracci P, Scaccianoce S, Sakamoto M, Cuomo V. Prenatal methylmercury exposure: effects on stress response during active learning. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 81(6):539-42. (2008)
  • Liu X, Cheng J, Song Y, Honda S, Wang L, Liu Z, Sakamoto M, Liu Y. Mercury concentration in hair samples from Chinese people in coastal cities. J Environ Sci (China). 2008;20(10):1258-62.
  • Li P, Feng X, Qiu G, Li Z, Fu X, Sakamoto M, Liu X, Wang D. Mercury exposures and symptoms in smelting workers of artisanal mercury mines in Wuchuan, Guizhou, China. Environ Res. 107(1):108-14. (2008)

  • Sakamoto M, Kaneoka T, Murata K, Nakai K, Satoh H. Akagi H. Correlations between mercury concentrations in umbilical cord tissue and other biomarkers of fetal exposure to methylmercury in the Japanese population. Environ Res. 103(1):106-11 (2007).
  • Sakamoto M, Feng X, Li O, Qiu G, Jiang H, Yoshida M, Iwata T, Liu XJ, Murata K. High exposure of Chinese mercury mine workers to elemental mercury vapor and increased methylmercury levels in their hair. Environ Health Prev Med 12(2):66-70 (2007)
  • Coluccia A, Borracci P, Giustino A, Sakamoto M, Carratù MR. Effects of low dose methylmercury administration during the postnatal brain growth spurt in rats. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 29 (2): 282-287 (2007)
  • Mergler D, Anderson A H, Chan LHM , Mahaffey KR., Murray M , Sakamoto M , Stern A H. Methylmercury Exposure and Health Effects in Humans: A Worldwide Concern. The Panel on Health Risks and Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury: AMBIO 3-11 (2007).
  • Ohno T, Sakamoto M, Kurosawa T, Dakeishi M, Iwata T, Murata K. Total mercury levels in hair, toenail, and urine among women free from occupational exposure and their relations to renal tubular function. Environ Res. 103(2):191-7 (2007).
  • Iwata T, Sakamoto M, Feng X, Yoshida M, Liu XJ, Dakeishi M, Li P, Qiu G, Jiang H, Nakamura M, Murata K. Effects of mercury vapor exposure on neuromotor function in Chinese miners and smelters. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 70 (5): 381-387 (2007)

  • Vu Duc Loi, Le Lan Anh, Trinh Anh Duc, Trinh Xuan Gian, Pham Gia Mon, Tran Van Huy, Nguyen Quoc Thong, Alian Boudou, Sakamoto M, Dao Van Bay. Contamination by cadmium and mercury of the water, sediment and biological component of hydrosystems around Hanoi. J Chemistry 44, 382-386 (2006)
  • Honda S, Hylander L, Sakamoto M. Recent advances in evaluation of health effects on mercury with special reference to methylmercury-A Minireview. Environ Health Prev Med 11(4): 171-176 (2006).
  • Iwata T, Nakai K, Sakamoto M, Dakeishi M, Satoh H, Murata K. Factor affecting hand tremor and postural sway in children. Environ Health Prev Med 11(1):17-23 (2006).

  • Sakamoto M, Murata K, Nakai K, Satoh H. Difference in methylmercury exposure to fetus and breast-feeding offspring: a mini-review. Kor J Env Hlth 31, 179-186 (2005).
  • Sakamoto M, Yasutake A, Satoh H. Methylmercury exposure in general populations of Japan, Asia and Oceania. Dynamics of mercury pollution on regional and global scales: atmospheric processes and human exposures around the world. N. Pirrone & K.R. Mahaffey (Eds) Springer (2005) p125-146.
  • Dakeishi M, Nakai K, Sakamoto M, Iwata T, Suzuku K, Liu X, et al. Effects of hair treatment on hair mercury - The best biomarker of methylmer5cury exposure? Environ Health Prev Med 10(4):208-212 (2005).
  • Murata K, Sakamoto M, Nakai K, Dakeishi M, Iwata T, Liu XJ, et al. Subclinical effects of prenatal methylmercury exposure on cardiac autonomic function in Japanese children. Int Arch Occup Environ Health:1-8.(2005)
  • Pan HS, Sakamoto M, Liu XJ, Futatsuka M. Deficits in rat brain growth induced by methylmercury treatment during the brain growth spurt. J Health Sci 51(1) 1-7 (2005).

  • Murata K, Sakamoto M, Nakai K, Weihe P, Dakeishi M, Iwata T, Liu XJ, Ohno T, Kamiya K, Satoh H. Effects of methylmercury on neurodevelopment in Japanese children in relation to Madeiran study. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 77, 571-579. (2004)
  • Sakamoto M, Kakita A, Oliveira RB, Pan HS, Takahashi H. Dose-dependent effects of methylmercury administered during neonatal brain spurt in rats. Dev Brain Res152, 171-176. (2004)
  • Sakamoto M, Kubota M, Liu XJ, Murata K, Nakai K, Satoh H. Maternal and fetal mercury and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as a risk and benefit of fish consumption to fetus. Environ Sci Technol 38, 3860-3863. (2004)
  • Sakamoto M, Kubota M. Plasma fatty acid profiles in 38 pairs of maternal and umbilical cord blood samples. Environ Health & Prev Med 9, 67-69. (2004)
  • Pan HS, Sakamoto M, Oliveira RB, Liu XJ, Kakita A, Futatsuka M. Changes in methylmercury accumulation in the brain of rat offspring throughout gestation and during suckling. Toxicol Environ Chem 86, 163-170. (2004)
  • Nakai K, Suzuki K, Oka T, Murata K, Sakamoto M, Okamura K, HosokawaT, Sakai T, Nakamura T, Saitoh Y, Kurokawa N, Kameo S, Satoh H. A Cohort study of effects of perinatal exposures to methylmercury and environmentally persistent organic pollutants on neurobehavioral development in Japanese children. Tohoku J Exp Med 202, 227-237. (2004)
  • Sakamoto M, Kubota M, Matsumoto S, Nakano A, Akagi H. Declining risk of methylmercury exposure to infants during lactation. Environ Res (2003) 90 (3), 185-189.

  • Kakita A, Inenaga C, Sakamoto M, Takahashi H. Neuronal migration disturbance and consequent cyoarchitecture in the cerebral cortex following transplacental administration of methylmercury. Acta Neuropathol 104 (4), 409-417. (2003)
  • Kakita A, Inenaga C, Sakamoto M, Takahashi H. Disruption of postnatal progenitor migration and consequent abnormal pattern of glial distribution in the cerebral cortex following administration of methylmercury. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 62 (8), 835-847. (2003)
  • Iwasaki Y, Sakamoto M, Nakai K, Oka T, Deshimaru M, Iwata T, Satoh H, Murata K. Estimation of daily mercury intake from seafood in Japanese women: Akita Cross-Sectional Study. Tohoku J Exp Med200, 67-73. (2003)

  • Sakamoto M, Kubota M, Matsumoto S, Nakano A, Akagi H. Declining risk of methylmercury exposure to infants during lactation. Environ Res (2002) 90, 185-189.
  • Sakamoto M, Kakita A, Wakabayashi K, Takahashi H, Nakano A, Akagi H. Evaluation of changes in methylmercury accumulation in the developing rat brain and its effects: a study with consecutive and moderate dose exposure throughout gestation and lactation periods. Brain Res (2002) 949, 51-59.
  • Kakita A, Inenaga C, Sakamoto M, Takahashi H. Neuronal migration disturbance and consequent cytoarchitecture in the cerebral cortex following transplacental administration of methylmercury. Acta Neuropathol (2002) 104, 409-417.

  • Sakamoto M, Nakano A, Akagi H. Declining minamata male birth ratio associated with increased male fetal death due to heavy methylmercury pollution. Environ Res Section A (2001) 87, 92-98.
  • Kakita A, Wakabayashi K, Su M, Sakamoto M, Ikuta F, Takahashi H. Intrauterine methylmercury intoxication: pattern of neuronal degeneration in the fetal brain and consequence on higher brain function in maturity. In: Takizawa Y and Osame M (eds.), Understanding of Minamata Disease. Methylmercury Poisoning in Minamata and Niigata, Japan. The Japan Public Health Association, Tokyo, (2001) pp.85-93.

  • Kakita A, Wakabayashi K, Su M, Yoneoka Y, Sakamoto M, Ikuta F, Takahashi H. Intrauterine methylmecury intoxication Consequence of the inherent brain lesions and cognitive dysfunction in maturity. Brain Res (2000) 877, 322-330.
  • Kakita A, Wakabayashi K, Su M, Sakamoto M, Ikuta F, Takahashi H. Distinct pattern of neuronal degeneration in the fetal rat brain induced by consecutive transplacental administration of methylmercury. Brain Res (2000) 859, 233-239.

  • Fukuda Y, Ushijima K, Kitano T, Sakamoto M, Futatsuka M. An analysis of subjective complaints in a population living in a methylmercury-polluted area. Environ Res Section A81, 100-107. (1999)

  • Sakamoto M, Wakabayashi K, Kakita A, Takahashi H, Adachi T, Nakano A. Widespread neuronal degeneration in rats following oral administration of methylmercury during the postnatal developing phase: a model of fetal-type Minamata Disease. Brain Res 784, 351-354. (1998)
  • Oyama Y, Nakata M, Sakamoto M, Chikahisa L, Miyoshi N, Satoh M. Methylmercury toxicity in dissociated rat brain neurons: modification by L-cysteine and trimethylbenzylmercaptan and comparison with dimethylmercury and N-ethylmaleimide. Environ Toxicol & Pharmacol (1998)6, 221-227.

  • Okazaki E, Oyama Y, Chikahisa L, Nagano T, Katayama N, Sakamoto M. Fluorescent estimation on cytotoxicity of methylmercury in dissociated cerebellar neurons: its comparison with ionomycin. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol3, 237. (1997)

  • Sakamoto M, Ikegami N, Nakano A. Protective Effects of Ca2+ Channel Blockers against Methyl Mercury Toxicity. Pharmacol & Toxicol78, 193-199. (1996)

  • Sakamoto M, Nakano A. Comparison of mercury accumulation among the brain, liver, kidney, and the brain regions of rats administered methylmercury in Various Phases of Postnatal Development. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 55, 588-596. (1995)
  • Wakabayashi K, Kakita A, Sakamoto M, Su M, Iwanaga K, Ikuta F. Variability of brain lesions in rats administered methylmercury at various postnatal development phases. Brain Res705, 267-272. (1995)

  • Sakamoto M, Nakano A, Kajiwara Y, Naruse I, Fujisaki T. Effects of methyl mercury in postnatal developing rats. Environ Res61, 43-50. (1993)
  • Kinjo Y, Higashi H, Nakano A, Sakamoto M, Sakai R. Profile of Subjective Complaints and Activities of Daily Living among Current Patients with Minamata Disease after 3 Decades. Environ Res 63, 241-251. (1993)

  • Sakamoto M, Nakano A, Kinjo Y, Higashi H, Futatsuka M. Present mercury levels in red blood cells of nearby inhabitants about 30 years after the outbreak of Minamata Disease. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, (1991)22, 58-66.
  • Kinjo Y, Nakano A, Sakamoto M, Futatsuka M, Kato H. Clarification of mortality patterns among Minamata Disease patients. Environ Sci (1991)1,2, 73-88.

  • Nakamura K, Sakamoto M, Uchiyama H, Yagi O. Organomercurial-volatilizing bacteria in the mercury-polluted sediment of Minamata Bay, Japan. Appl & Environ Microbiology (1990)56 (1), 304-305.
  • Wakisaka I, Yanagihashi T, Nakano A, Sakamoto M. Interaction of sulfur dioxide and nicotine aerosol as sensory irritants. 鹿児島大学医学雑誌 (1990) 第42巻 第1号 59-67.

  • Ando T, Sakamoto M, Yanagihashi T. Effect of methylmercury on the lipid components in rats. Acta Med Univ Kagoshima (1987)29 (2), 67-74.

  • Kanazawa A, Teshima S, Sakamoto M. Effect of dietary lipids, fatty acids, and phospholipids on growth and survival of prawn (penaeus japonicus) larvae. Aquaculture (1985)50, 39-49.

  • Sakamoto M. Effect of methylmercury on the lipid composition in guinea pigs. Industrial Health (1985)23, 171-179.

  • Sakamoto M, Holland DL, Jones DA. Modification of the nutritional composition of Artemia by incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids using micro-encapsulated diets. Aquaculture (1982)28, 311-320.
  • Kanazawa A, Teshima S, Sakamoto M. Requirements of essential fatty acids for the larval Ayu. Bull Jap Soc Sci Fisheries (1982)48 (4), 587-590.
  • Teshima S, Kanazawa A, Sakamoto M. Essential fatty acids of Tilapia nilotica. Mem. Fac. Fish., Kagoshima Univ (1982)31, 201-204.

  • Teshima S, Kanazawa A, Sakamoto M. Attempt to culture the rotifers with microencapsulated diets.  Bull Jap Soc Sci Fisheries (1981)47 (12), 1575-1578.

  • Kanazawa A, Teshima S, Sakamoto M, Shinomiya A. Nutritional requirements of the puffer fish: purified test diet and the optimum protein level. Bull Jap Soc Sci Fisheries (1980)46 (11), 1957-1961.
  • Kanazawa A, Teshima S, Sakamoto M, Md. Awal A. Requirements of Tilapia zillii for essential fatty acids.  Bull Jap Soc Sci Fisheries (1980)46 (11), 1353-1356.