Age-related Effects of Major and Trace Element Concentrations in Rat Liver and Their Mutual Relationships

J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2013 Oct;27(4):286-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2013.04.006. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


The concentrations of 22 major and trace elements in livers from rats aging from 5 to 113 weeks old were determined. The rats investigated were the same rats previously reported with respect to 29 elements in bones (femur) and 26 elements in kidneys. The samples were decomposed with high-purity nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide. Seven elements (Na, Mg, P, K, Ca, Fe and Zn) were determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), and 15 elements (Mn, Co, Cu, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Cd, Sn, Sb, Cs, Ba, Pb and Bi) were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for age variations indicated that the concentrations of many elements, such as Mg, P, K, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Sr, Mo and Cd, were almost constant across the ages of the rats with the exception of 5 weeks old (p > 0.05). Arsenic, Pb and Bi showed significant increasing trends, while Na and Co showed decreasing trends (p < 0.01). Selenium showed a decreasing trend except at the initial stage of 5-9 weeks old. Calcium, Rb, Sn, Sb, Cs and Ba showed significant age-related variations, but their patterns were not monotonic. The liver clearly contrasts with the kidneys, in which many elements showed significant age-related variations with increasing trends. The concentration ranges of Mg, P, K, Mn, Cu, Zn, and Mo were controlled within 15% across all ages of rats. The homeostasis of the aforementioned elements may be well established in the liver. The toxic elements, such as Cd, Pb and Bi, showed a narrow concentration range among age-matched rats.

Keywords: Aging effects; Element concentrations; Elemental correlations; Rat liver.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Liver / chemistry*
  • Metals, Alkali / analysis*
  • Metals, Alkaline Earth / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Metals, Alkali
  • Metals, Alkaline Earth
  • Trace Elements