Lead removal in rats using calcium alginate

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Jan;22(1):293-304. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3324-7. Epub 2014 Jul 27.


Lead (Pb) exposure, even at low levels, causes a variety of health problems. The aims of this study were to investigate the tissue distribution of lead in the bodies of rats, to evaluate lead removal from the internal organs and bones using calcium alginate in doses of 500, 200 and 100 mg/kg per day for 28 days and to assess the impact of calcium alginate on the level of essential elements. Lead (Pb), calcium (Ca), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels in the blood, hearts, kidneys, livers and femurs of the experimental animals were measured using mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma. The results revealed that lead acetate exposure increased the levels of Pb in the blood and organs of the animals and significantly reduced contents of Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu and Zn. Treatment with calcium alginate in dose 500 mg/kg contributed to significant decreases in the amount of lead in the kidney, heart and bones of animals and a slight increase in the content of essential elements in the liver, kidneys and heart, although these changes were not significant. Decreasing of lead was not significant in the internal organs, bones and blood of animals treated with calcium alginate 200 and 100 mg/kg. Consequently, calcium alginate dose of 500 mg/kg more efficiently removes lead accumulated in the body. Calcium alginate does not have negative effect on level of essential elements quite the contrary; reducing the levels of lead, calcium alginate helps normalize imbalances of Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu and Zn. The results of this study suggest that calcium alginate may potentially be useful for the treatment and prevention of heavy metal intoxications.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / administration & dosage
  • Alginates / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Chelating Agents / administration & dosage
  • Chelating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / isolation & purification*
  • Environmental Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Glucuronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Glucuronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Hexuronic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Hexuronic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lead / blood
  • Lead / isolation & purification*
  • Lead / pharmacokinetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Trace Elements / blood


  • Alginates
  • Chelating Agents
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Trace Elements
  • Lead
  • Glucuronic Acid