One year exposure to Cd- and Pb-contaminated soil causes metal accumulation and alteration of global DNA methylation in rats
Nakayama, Shouta M.M.
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Metal pollution has been associated with anthropogenic activities, such as effluents and emissions from mines. Soil could be exposure route of wild rats to metals, especially in mining areas. The aim of this study was to verify whether soil exposure under environmentally relevant circumstances results in metal accumulation and epigenetic modifications. Wistar rats were divided to three groups: 1) control without soil exposure, 2) low-metal exposure group exposed to soil containing low metal levels (Pb: 75 mg/kg; Cd: 0.4), and 3) high-metal exposure group exposed to soil (Pb: 3750; Cd: 6). After 1 year of exposure, the metal levels, Pb isotopic values, and molecular indicators were measured. Rats in the high-group showed significantly greater concentrations of Pb and Cd in tissues. Higher accumulation factors (tissue/soil) of Cd than Pb were observed in the liver, kidney, brain, and lung, while the factor of Pb was higher in the tibia. The obtained results of metal accumulation ratios (lung/liver) and stable Pb isotope ratios in the tissues indicated that the respiratory exposure would account for an important share of metal absorption into the body. Genome-wide methylation status and DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt 3a/3b) mRNA expressions in testis were higher in the high-group, suggesting that exposure to soil caused metal accumulation and epigenetic alterations in rats