, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 193–198 | Cite as

Cadmium-induced changes in avian renal morphology

  • C. J. Whitehead
  • D. N. Prashad
  • R. O. Blackburn
Full Papers


The effects of i.m. administered cadmium on growth rate and nephromorphology were studied in young pullets. The growth rate of pullets treated with 0.6 mg Cd2+/kg at 48-h intervals was severely retarded, reaching only 50% of normal growth by 21 days. Such a decrease in growth rate was prevented when cadmium was given with either ferric or magnesium EDTA chelate. Electron micrographs of kidney tissue from cadmium intoxicated birds revealed massive intracellular disorganisation of proximal tubular cells, showing increased vacuolation and dilated endoplasmic reticulum. Mitochondria were few and swollen with reduced cristae. Some disorganisation was noted in the group treated with MgEDTA in conjunction with cadmium, with normal morphology observed in the group treated FeEDTA plus cadmium.

In general, glomerular morphology of intoxicated pullets appeared normal, except that a 25% increase in thickness of the glomerular basement membrane was evident. No such membrane thickening was observed in any of the chelate treated groups.

These findings indicate that both chelates can provide certain levels of protection, in terms of growth rate and morphology, from cadmium intoxication. The possible mechanisms by which chelates offer protection have been discussed, but many questions remain unanswered.

Key words

Cadmium treatment avian nephromorphology growth rate chelate 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Whitehead
    • 1
  • D. N. Prashad
    • 1
  • R. O. Blackburn
    • 2
  1. 1.Thames PolytechnicSchool of Biological Sciences and Environmental HealthLondonEngland
  2. 2.Life Sciences DepartmentUniversity of London, Goldsmiths' CollegeLondonEngland

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