Effect of Sub-Chronic Exposure to Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic on Serum : Current School News

Effect of Sub-Chronic Exposure to Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic on Serum Electrolyte Levels of Albino Wistarats



¬†– Effect of Sub-Chronic Exposure to Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic on Serum Electrolyte Levels of Albino Wistarats –


This research was designed to investigate the effect of sub-chronic exposure to lead acetate, cadmium dichloride and arsenic trioxide on serum sodium, chloride, potassium and Bicarbonate levels of albino wistar rats. Twenty five (25) albino rats with body weight ranging between 192.3-200.3g were randomly assigned to 5 groups of (five) animals each.

Group (1) received 1ml of lead acetate at a dose of 60mg/kg weight, group (2) received 1ml of cadmium  dichloride at a dose of 22.5mg/kg body weight, group (3) received 1ml of arsenic trioxide at a dose of 18.8mg/kg body weight, group (4) received  1ml of the mixed metals (lead acetate, cadmium dichloride and arsenic  trioxide) while group (5) served as the control and received dionized water and the normal rat pellets.

All experimental groups received treatment thrice weekly for (3) three months.

The result of the electrolyte assay revealed that Na (sodium) and k(potassium) levels of all the test groups were non-significantly increased (P<0.05) when compared to the control while group (4) showed a  non-significant increase (P<0.05) when compared with the control.

The Arsenic (As) treated group (3) showed a significant decrease (P>0.05) in chloride levels compared to other test groups. Bicarbonate levels of all the metal exposed groups were non-significantly decreased (P>0.05) when compared to the control.

The outcome of this research study suggests that the heavy metals adversely affected serum electrolyte levels.

The imbalance observed in the electrolyte levels of the present study could be due to the fact that heavy metals exert their toxic effect by generating reactive oxygen species such as O2, H202  and OH causing oxidative stress leading to electrolyte imbalance in the blood.


Title page –¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† i

Certification¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ii

Dedication ¬† –¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† iii

Acknowledgement      iv

Abstract ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†v

Table of Content – –¬† vi


  • Background of the study – –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†1
  • Aim and Objective of the study – –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 4
  • Scope and Limitation of the study – –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 5
  • Definition of terms-¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†6


2.1¬†¬†¬†¬† Heavy Metals-¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† 8

2.2¬†¬†¬†¬† Types of Heavy Metals¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† 9

2.3     Health Effects of Metal Exposure-          13

2.4     Treatment of Heavy Metals (Pb, Cd and Ar) Toxicity     16

2.5¬†¬†¬†¬† Serum Electrolytes and Their Biological Roles –¬† ¬† 17

2.5.1¬† Sodium –¬† ¬† ¬†17

2.5.2¬† Potassium – –¬† ¬† ¬†18

2.5.3¬† Chloride ¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†19

2.5.4¬† Bicarbonate ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† 20

2.6¬†¬†¬†¬† Factors affecting Serum Electrolytes Levels¬† –¬† ¬† 21

2.7¬†¬†¬†¬† Electrolytes imbalance and Consequences¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† 22

2.8¬†¬†¬†¬† Previous Researches ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 23


3.1¬†¬†¬†¬† Materials¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†26

3.2¬†¬†¬†¬† Method¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬†26

3.2.1¬† Procurement of heavy metals ¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†26

3.2.2  Preparation of heavy metals           26

3.2.3¬† Experimental Design ¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 27

3.2.4¬† Collection of Blood Sample¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 28

3.2.5  Determination of serum Sodium (Na+)       28

3.2.6  Determination of serum Potassium (K+)        29

3.2.7  Determination of serum chloride (Cl)                30

3.2.8¬† Determination of serum Bicarbonate (HCO3)¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 30

3.3¬†¬†¬†¬† Statistical Analysis –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 32


4.1¬†¬†¬†¬† Result ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬† ¬†33

4.2¬†¬†¬†¬† Discussion¬†¬† –¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†35


5.1¬†¬†¬†¬† Conclusion¬† –¬† ¬† 40

5.2¬†¬†¬†¬† Recommendation¬† –¬† ¬†40



1.1     Background of the Study

Heavy metal pollution is a global agenda since it has become the major threat to mankind on the planet. Genotoxic effects of environmental agents have high priority in research related to public health.

Alterations in genetic materials are significant in the production of cancer and congenital abnormalities.

In nature, there are more chances of exposure by a mixture of heavy metals rather by single heavy metal. Heavy metals are toxic at relatively low concentrations and persist in the environment long after the soured of emission has be removed.

Thus could be classified as important sources of pollution (Arise et al., 2012). Heavy metals also bio accumulate in one or several compartments across food webs  as shown by several scientific observations  (Chukwo, 2005; Otitoloju and Donpedro, 2002).

Heavy metals are grouped into essential and non-essential, the essential  elements plays important roles as prosthetic groups in enzymes and key metabolic activities in living organisms for example Iron (Fe), copper (Cu), Manganese  (Mm) and Zinc (Zn).

The non-essential metals such as arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), cadmium (cd) and lead (pb) are not needed in the physiological activities of living organism hence they are usually toxic at relatively low concentrations (Falusi et al., 2011).

The route of exposure of these heavy metals to living forms are through air, water, soil  plants and food which can occur through dermal absorption (skin), inhalation (lungs) and ingestion (mouth).

Presently, the amount of heavy metals exposure is hundred times higher than in the past thus ‚Äúheavy metals‚ÄĚ (Howard, 2002).

Heavy metals bioaccumulation can be of public health significance especially when its bioaccumulates in vital organs of man causing damages that can eventually lead to death.

Lead acetale (Pb cH3 Coo)2), also known as lead diacetate, phembous acetate, sugar of lead, lead salt, salt of Saturn, or Goudard’s power, is a  white crystalling compound with sweetish taste. It is toxic, lead acetate is soluble in water (Seigler, 2002).

Lead acetate is also used as a mordant in textile, printing and dying and as a drier in paints and varnishes. It was historically used as a sweetener and for cosmetics. Cadmium is also an environmental hazard.

Human exposure is primarily from fossil fuel combustion, phosphate fertilizers, natural sources, iron and steel production, cement production and related activities non- ferrous metals  productions and municipal solid waste incineration.

Bread root crops and vegetables also contribute to the cadmium in modern populations (Mikko, 2006)  cadmium exposure is a risk factor associated with a large number of illness including kidney disease, early arthrosclerosis, hypertension  and cardiovascular  diseases (Robert,1998).

Although studies show a significant correlation between cadmium exposure and occurrence of disease in human populations, a necessary molecular mechanism has not been identified.

High quantities of cadmium can be found in crustaceans, mullusks, offal and algar products. However, grains, vegetables and starchy roots and tubers are consumed in much greater quantity in the united state and  are the sources of the greatest dietary exposure.

Arsenic is a naturally assuring toxic metalloid prevalent in the earth’s crust. Drinking water is the major source of naturally occurring inorganic  arsenic.

Around the world  200 million  of people are intoxicated by drinking water, arsenic is eliminated by urinary excretion therefore it can accumulate in the kidneys.


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