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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2002 Jan;51(1):35-43.

Gestational and lactational lead intoxication produces alterations in the hepatic system of rat pups.

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Department of Animal Biology II (Animal Physiology), Complutense University, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


The effects of lead (Pb) intoxication during pregnancy and lactation were studied in the hepatic system of pups and young Wistar rats to test the hypothesis that gestational and lactational lead exposure alters the normal function of the liver in neonates. Lead acetate (300 mg/L) dissolved in distilled water was administered ad libitum to mothers during gestation and lactation. At days 12 and 21 postnatal (PN), pups were sacrificed, blood was collected, and livers were removed. Blood lead (PbB) levels were also measured. Although, histological evaluation revealed neither abnormalities in the liver structure nor depositions of lead, the toxicant produced biochemical alterations. Lead-intoxicated pups exhibited a decrease in hemoglobin, iron, and alkaline and acid phosphatase levels and an increase in PbB content. Protein, DNA, and lipid total amounts were reduced, and hepatic glycogen content was diminished at days 12 and 21 PN, with a higher level of glucose in the blood. Lead administration also resulted in a decrease in alkaline phosphatase in the liver of pups at day 21 PN, but acid phosphatase was unaltered. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that lead intoxication of mothers in gestation and lactation results in alterations in the hepatic system in neonates and pups.

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