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Changes in plasma hormones profile and liver function in cows naturally exposed to lead and cadmium around different industrial areas

Swarup, D., Naresh, R., Varshney, V.P., Balagangatharathilagar, M., Kumar, P., Nandi, D., Patra, R.C.
Research in veterinary science 2007 v.82 no.1 pp. 16-21
dairy cows, endocrine system physiology, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, physiological response, environmental exposure, industrial effluents, pollutants, toxic substances, lead, cadmium, animal tissues, blood chemistry, liver function, thyroid hormones, sex hormones, adrenal cortex hormones, risk assessment, cattle diseases, India
The present study was carried out to assess the endocrine status and liver function in adult cows reared in polluted environment around different industrial units in India.The effect on endocrine system was examined by determination of plasma level of thyroid hormones, thyroxin (T4) (n = 269) and triidothyronin (T3) (n = 269), stress hormone cortisol (n = 266), and reproductive hormones such as estradiol (n = 84) and progesterone (n = 84) in cows (>3 years) reared around different polluted industrial and non-polluted areas.The respective blood lead and cadmium concentration was also determined in all the cows.The mean plasma levels of both T3 and T4 were significantly (P < 0.05) higher around lead zinc smelter (2.43 ± 0.26 and 41.1 ± 2.9 nmol/L) and closed lead cum operational zinc smelter (1.81 ± 0.16 and 42.4 ± 6.2 nmol/L), where the mean blood lead level (0.86 ± 0.06 and 0.51 ± 0.09 μg/ml) was also significantly higher than that of cows (0.07 ± 0.01 μg/ml) from unpolluted areas.Regression analysis of data from 269 cows revealed a significant (P < 0.01) positive correlation between the blood lead and plasma T3 (r = 0.287) and T4 (r = 0.173).The correlation between thyroidal hormones and the blood cadmium concentration (r = -0.079 and -0.48; P > 0.05) was not significant.Plasma cortisol level had also a non-significant (P > 0.05) correlation (r = -0.092) with blood lead level.However, the mean cortisol level (4.02 ± 1.96 nmol/L) of cows in phosphate rock mining areas was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than that of controls (1.98 ± 0.70 nmol/L). The mean plasma estradiol level was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in cows around closed lead cum operational zinc smelter (47.1 ± 19.5 pg/ml) than that of the control animals (21.8 ± 3.9 pg/ml) and in rest of the areas, the difference did not reach the statistical significance (P > 0.05).The serum biochemical analysis in 36 cows around lead-zinc smelter with the highest mean blood lead level (0.86 ± 0.06 μg/ml) amongst all the industrial/urban areas surveyed, and in 15 animals from non-polluted areas revealed a significant positive correlation between blood lead and serum ALT (alanine transaminase) (r = 0.688, P < 0.01) and AST (aspartate transaminase) (r = 0.390, P < 0.01) and a negative correlation with serum total lipids (r = -0.337, P < 0.05), total protein (r = -0.449, P < 0.01) and albumin(r = -0.662, P < 0.01). It is concluded from the study that the natural exposure to lead in polluted environments disturbs the endocrine profile and the higher blood lead level alters serum biochemical parameters indicative of liver functions.