Immunotoxicological Investigation of Subacute Combined Exposure with Low Doses of Pb, Hg and Cd in Rats
Detectable interactions between NOEL (No Observed Effect Level) doses of Pb, Hg and Cd in general toxicological, hematological, and immune function parameters were investigated. The metals (Pb-acetate, 20 mg/kg; HgCl2, 0.40 mg/kg; CdCl2, 1.61 mg/kg) were combined. First, the rats received the combination Pb + Hg + Cd for 4 weeks per os. Significant difference vs. control was found only in the weight of lung and popliteal lymph node (PLN). The Pb + Hg and Pb + Cd combinations significantly decreased the PLN to 100 g body weight and PLN to brain weight ratio, and Pb+Hg also decreased the relative adrenal weight. After 12 weeks treatment with the same doses, effects on the thymus, kidney, and adrenal weights in the Pb + Hg, and thymus weight in the Pb + Cd, combination were seen. Pb + Cd also affected the white and red blood cell count and hematocrit. Combined with Hg or Cd, NOEL dose Pb showed toxicity, indicating that exposure limits may be inefficient in combined exposure situations.
KeywordsImmunotoxicity hematology heavy metals combination rat
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