Absorption Levels and Morphological Features of Fetal Organs in Wistar Rats Treated with Lead Acetate

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Kátia Michelle dos Anjos Bomfim; Carlos Alexandre Borges Garcia; Francisco Prado Reis; José Arnaldo Vasconcelos Palmeira; Ricardo Scher; Waldecy de Lucca Júnior; José Adeval Aragão; Francis Lima Vasconcelos; Ricardo Luiz Cavalcanti Albuquerque Júnior; Vera Lúcia Corrêa Feitosa


Lead is one of the heavy metals most used in industry. Poisoning due to long-term lead exposure is known as saturnism, and is an occupational illness that has been known for many years. Lead is highly toxic and can compromise the structural and functional patterns of organs and systems. The aim of this study was to examine the lungs and kidneys of fetuses from female Wistar rats exposed to lead acetate. In this study, the lungs and kidneys of 20 fetuses from female rats that had previously been treated with lead acetate were dissected, fixed, embedded in paraffin and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Macroscopic changes to the shape, color and consistency of organs from fetuses treated with this heavy metal were observed, in comparison with organs from control fetuses. Microscopic lesions characterized by vascular sclerosis, cell atrophy or hyperplasia, progressive interstitial fibrosis, inclusion bodies containing lead acetate and glomerular sclerosis were found in the kidneys. The lesions found in the lungs consisted of destructuring of the parenchyma, impregnation with lead acetate, formation of fibrosis, extravasation of vascular fluids, reduction of the alveolar spaces and formation of alveolar edema. These changes were correlated with the level of lead acetate absorption, as determined using atomic spectrophotometry.

KEY WORDS: Lead acetate; Fetuses; Lung; Kidney.

How to cite this article

BOMFIM, K. M. A.; GARCIA, C. A. B.; REIS, F. P.; PALMEIRA, J. A. V.; SCHER, R.; DE LUCCA JÚNIOR, W.; ARAGÃO, J. A.; VASCONCELOS, F. L.; ALBUQUERQUE JÚNIOR, R. L. C. & FEITOSA, V. L. C. Absorption levels and morphological features of fetal organs in wistar rats treated with lead acetate. Int. J. Morphol., 30(1):119-124, 2012.