Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 1, pp 230–242 | Cite as

Effects of Humic Acids in Chronic Lead Poisoning

  • Janka VaškováEmail author
  • Klára Krempaská
  • Daniel Žatko
  • Pavol Mudroň
  • Gabriela Glinská
  • Ladislav Vaško


Chronic exposure to lead causes disruption to energy production mechanisms and tissue damage, in particular through its binding to thiol groups and competition for zinc binding sites. We investigated the possibility of preventing the consequences of chronic lead poisoning by administration of three different doses of humic acids (HAs) into feed with the aim of establishing an effective HA dose. During the 10-week experiment, a sub-lethal dose of lead acetate was given to rats during the first 5 weeks, with continuous administration of HA over 10 weeks. Measurements were taken to determine the content of the metals Pb, Mn, Cu, Fe and Zn; the metalloid Se; and selected antioxidant markers in the heart, liver, kidney and plasma after the first, fifth and tenth weeks of experiment. The administration of lead and HAs clearly affects the redistribution of the elements and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes. This fact was particularly highlighted in the lead-only group as, within the experiment, significantly higher Pb concentrations were found only in the plasma of this group. However, in the group with 1% HA administered with lead, we observed a rise in Zn concentrations in the organs and the deposition of Fe into the liver. Decreased glutathione reductase activity in the plasma and balanced reduced glutathione concentrations indicated sufficient efficiency of redox reactions. SOD activities were among those affected most strongly, with only the 1% HA group showing no effect on heavy metal redistribution as a result of HA administration.


Humic acids Lead Lead intoxication Antioxidant enzymes Oxidative stress Metal cofactors 



The study was supported by VEGA 1/1236/12 and 1/0782/15.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical and Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicinePavol Jozef Šafárik University in KošiceKošiceSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Clinic for RuminantsUniversity of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in KošiceKošiceSlovak Republic

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