Acute effects of mercuric chloride (HgCl2) were evaluated on mice. Mice received a single dose of HgCl2 (4.6 mg/kg, subcutaneously) for three consecutive days. Thirty minutes after the last injection with HgCl2, mice received one single injection of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS) or N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or diphenyl diselenide (PhSe)2. DMPS, NAC and (PhSe)2 were utilized as therapy against mercury exposure. At 24 h after the last HgCl2 injection, blood, liver and kidney samples were collected. delta-Aminolevulinate dehydratase (delta-ALA-D) and Na+, K- (+) ATPase activities, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), non-protein thiols (NPSH) and ascorbic acid concentrations were evaluated. Plasma aspartate (AST) and alanine (ALT) aminotransferase activities, as well as urea and creatinine levels were determined. The group of mice exposed to Hg + (PhSe)2 presented 100% of lethality. Exposure with HgCl2 caused a decrease on the body weight gain and treatments did not modify this parameter. delta-ALA-D, AST and ALT activities, TBARS, ascorbic acid levels and NPSH (hepatic and erythrocytic) levels were not changed after HgCl2 exposure. HgCl2 caused an increase in renal NPSH content and therapies did not modify these levels. Mice treated with (PhSe)2, Hg + NAC and Hg + DMPS presented a reduction in plasma NPSH levels. Creatinine and urea levels were increased in mice exposed to Hg + NAC, while Hg + DMPS group presented an increase only in urea level. Na+, K- (+) ATPase activity was inhibited in mice exposed to Hg + DMPS and Hg + NAC. In conclusion, therapies with (PhSe)2, DMPS and NAC following mercury exposure must be better studied because the formation of more toxic complexes with mercury, which can mainly damage renal tissue.