Author(s): T. Bhattacharjee, S. Bhattacharjee and D. Choudhuri*
Objective: Cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) are known to cause adverse health effects on various human and animal systems. In the present study, we evaluated effects of chronic low dose exposure to a mixture of Pb, Cd and As on liver and kidney of male rats. The findings were compared with the finding on individual exposure to each of these metals at the dose at which it was present in mixture. Methods: The animals were treated with the mixture of Cd, Pb and As, and with each individual metal at a very low dose for 90 consecutive days. Following the treatment, animals were autopsied and serum glucose, albumin, total protein, total cholesterol, urea, creatinine, glutamicoxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) were estimated. The enzymes alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and acid phosphatase (ACP) were measured from liver and kidney tissue homogenates. The histopathological changes in liver and kidney were evaluated. Results: There was a significant increase in serum glucose, cholesterol, urea and creatinine in mixture treated rats. The serum protein and albumin levels were decreased in mixture treated animals. There was also a significant increase in the activity of serum enzymes, SGOT and SGPT. The activity of enzymes ACP and ALP from both liver and kidney were increased. Histopathological changes in liver and kidney tissues exhibited toxic symptoms in treated animals. Low dose exposure to individual metal component used in the mixture did not show much difference in study parameters in comparison to the control animals. Conclusion: Chronic exposure to a mixture of heavy metals cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) at a very low environmentally relevant dose produced hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic effects in albino rats.