Aspects of the biochemical toxicology of cadmium

R. L. Singhal, Z. Merali, P. D. Hrdina

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83 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium, in addition to producing a variety of toxic manifestations, is known to accumulate in certain 'target' organs which include liver and kidney where histological and functional damage becomes apparent. The daily intraperitoneal injection of cadmium chloride for 21 or 45 days stimulated the activities of hepatic pyruvate carboxylase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, fructose 1,6 diphosphatase and glucose 6 phosphatase, elevated blood glucose and urea, and lowered hepatic glycogen in rats. Whereas chronic Cd treatment failed to alter adenosine 3',5' monophosphate phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity, cyclic AMP (cAMP) and the activity of basal and fluoride stimulated forms of hepatic adenylate cyclase (AC) were markedly increased. However, the cAMP binding to hepatic protein kinase was decreased as was the kinase activity ratio. An acute dose of Cd decreased hepatic glycogen content and increased blood glucose, serum urea, and hepatic cAMP. Chronic exposure to Cd induced adrenal hypertrophy and augmented adrenal norepinephrine and epinephrine as well as the activity of adrenal tyrosine hydroxylase. This treatment decreased prostatic and testicular weights of mature rats. Although cAMP as well as AC activity of the prostate gland were reduced, cAMP binding to the prostatic protein kinase was increased as was the activity of the cAMP dependent form of the enzyme. Testicular AC and PDE activities, however, were stimulated, although cAMP remained unaffected. Whereas the activities of the cAMP dependent and the independent forms of testicular protein kinase were significantly depressed, the binding of cAMP to protein kinase from testes of Cd treated rats was not affected. In most cases, the observed metabolic alterations persisted up to 28 days on cessation of Cd administration. Subacute Cd treatment suppressed pancreatic function as evidenced by lowered serum immunoreactive insulin (IRI) in presence of hyperglycemia, as well as by partial inhibition of phentolamine stimulated increases in serum IRI. Although chronic Cd treatment failed to alter the concentration of brain stem norepinephrine and cerebrocortical acetylcholine esterase activity, serotonin levels of brain stem were depressed and the concentration of striatal dopamine and cerebrocortical acetylcholine were significantly elevated when compared with the values seen in control nonexposed animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalFederation Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes


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