African Journal of Applied Zoology and Environmental Biology

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Fetal contamination with cadmium following chronic exposure of rat dams during gestation

R S Ekine, G O Agu


Pregnant albino rats (n = 5) were exposed to cadmium in the form of cadmium acetate (0.14 gm/l) in both drinking water and feed ad libitum from day 1 to day 18 of gestation to investigate the level of maternal-fetal transfer of cadmium. Control pregnant rats (n = 5) received non-treated water and feed. Cadmium levels in maternal blood and fetal tissue in both treated and control groups were analyzed using absorption spectrophotometry and compared using the Student's t test. Mean cadmium level in the blood of treated dams (17.8 ± 0.8 µg/ml) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of control rats (3.6 ± 0.5, P < 0.05). Mean cadmium levels in fetuses from treated dam (11.0 ± 3.5) was 60% of that in maternal blood and was significantly higher (P< 0.05) than that of control fetuses (0.9 ± 0.2). It was concluded that cadmium, contrary to previous reports, can pass through the placenta in appreciable quantity to contaminate the fetus to possibly cause fetal abnormalities in the rat.

Keywords: rat, fetus, pregnant, cadmium

AJAZEB Vol. 7 2005: pp. 120-124
AJOL African Journals Online