The long-term effect of cadmium exposure through food on the postnatal development of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus Schreber 1780).
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Cadmium is well known for its toxicity to the animal body. However, its effect on pregnancy and the development of young animals is still not well understood. This study examined such effects, using bank voles captured from the wild to make the results closer to those which could be expected in the natural environment. One group of animals was fed 7mug g-1 cadmium in the food, a second 35 mug g-1, and a third no cadmium, as a control. The concentrations of cadmium in the whole bodies of young bank voles were determined on the 3rd, 5th, or 10th day of life. The cadmium level in the bodies of animals exposed to 35 mug g-1 of cadmium was significantly higher than in those from either the control group or the group receiving 7 mug g-1 of cadmium, which did not differ from each other. The cadmium level did not change with animal age in any of the study groups. Concentrations of Zn, Cu, and Fe were also determined in the whole body of young animals, as cadmium is known to disturb the metabolism of these essential metals through antagonistic activity. Both Cu and Fe levels were negatively correlated with cadmium concentrations, while a positive correlation was found between zinc and cadmium in the young animal bodies. Also found was higher offspring mortality in the group receiving 35 mug g-1 of cadmium in food. There was no difference in young animal body weight between the study groups.
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D. Bialonska, Jagiellonian University, Department of Environmental Monitoring, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ingardena 6, 30-060 Krakow, Poland