Weight loss alters organ concentrations and contents of lead and some essential divalent metals in rats previously exposed to lead

Shenggao Han, Xianwen Qiao, Scott Simpson, Pegah Ameri, Francis W. Kemp, John D. Bogden

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14 Scopus citations


The loss of adipose tissue during energy restriction may be accompanied by a loss of lean body mass, including bone mass. Because most of the body lead burden is in the skeleton, we studied the effects of weight loss on the concentrations of lead in bone, blood and several organs in rats with prior but not current lead exposure. Concentrations of the essential divalent metals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc were also determined for comparison with lead. Lead-exposed rats (n = 25) were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: weight maintenance (WM), moderate weight loss (MWL) or substantial weight loss (SWL). For the two last-named groups, food intake was restricted for 4 wk to 70 and 40% of that of the WM group. Lead concentrations did not differ significantly (ANOVA, P > 0.05) among the three groups for blood, brain and bone. Significantly higher liver lead concentrations were observed in the SWL rats than in the WM and MWL groups. In general, organ concentrations of calcium, copper, magnesium and zinc were either lower or did not differ in the groups losing weight compared with the WM group. In contrast, organ iron concentrations of the SWL group were higher than those of the other groups except in brain where there were no significant differences. The total liver content of lead was highest in the SWL group, but the lead content of other organs did not differ among the treatment groups. The contents of calcium, copper, magnesium and zinc generally were lower in the MWL and SWL groups than in the WM group in the liver and some of the other organs. The results demonstrate that weight loss can increase the quantity and concentration of lead in the liver, even in the absence of continued lead exposure. The data also demonstrate considerable differences among organ divalent metals in response to weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • essential metals
  • lead
  • liver
  • rats
  • weight loss


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