Main content area

A study on the concentration of heavy metals and histopathological changes in Persian jirds (Mammals; Rodentia), affected by mining activities in an iron ore mine in Iran

Shahsavari, Amir, Tabatabaei Yazdi, Fatemeh, Moosavi, Zahra, Heidari, Ava, Sardari, Pourya
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.12 pp. 12590-12604
Meriones, adults, adverse effects, antimony, bioaccumulation, cadmium, chromium, chronic exposure, cobalt, copper, detection limit, epithelial cells, females, heavy metals, hemorrhage, histopathology, hyperemia, iron, juveniles, kidneys, lead, liver, males, mining, molybdenum, monitoring, muscle tissues, muscles, necrosis, nickel, pollutants, pollution, rodents, zinc, Iran
Mining activity constitutes a potential source of heavy metal pollution in the environment. Long-term exposure to heavy metals (e.g., cadmium) has adverse health effects. Rodents frequently serve as bioindicators to monitor the levels of heavy metals in the environment. In the present study, concentrations of 10 heavy metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, and Zn) in kidney, liver, and muscle tissue of the Persian jird (Meriones persicus) were evaluated. This is the first study to examine the histopathological changes in Persian jird tissues caused by the bioaccumulation heavy metals. The samples were taken at location that surrounded by Sangan Iron Ore Mine (SIOM) mining activities, in northeastern Iran. The results show that the highest concentrations for the metals were observed in kidney and liver, whereas lowest concentrations were found in muscle of Persian jirds. The concentration of Pb was below the limit of detection. Sex and age were two factors that could explain the different levels of heavy metal bioaccumulation, which affects the concentration of some metals. Adults had significantly higher Cu and Cd levels compared to juveniles. Males bioaccumulated more Zn in their kidneys than females, whereas females bioaccumulated more Fe in their livers. As expected, heavy metals affected various organs of the studied specimens. Hyperemia, hemorrhage, necrosis, and degenerative damage to the epithelial cells of the tubules, the presence of hyaline casts, and in one case, mononuclear leukocyte infiltration, were observed in samples of renal tissue. Hemorrhage and hepatocyte vacuolization were the most common histopathological changes found in samples of hepatic tissue. These effects and the concentrations of heavy metals in the studied specimens indicate the need for monitoring and frequent sampling to evaluate long-term persistent pollutants.