Low molybdenum state induced by tungsten as a model of molybdenum deficiency in rats

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2015 May;165(1):75-80. doi: 10.1007/s12011-015-0239-1. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Organ molybdenum (Mo) concentration and the activity of hepatic sulfite oxidase and xanthine oxidase were compared in tungsten-administered rats as well as rats fed with a low Mo diet to evaluate the use of tungsten-administered rats as a model of Mo deficiency. Twenty-four male 6-week-old Wistar rats were divided into four groups according to diet (AIN93G diet (control diet) or the control diet minus ammonium molybdate (low Mo diet)) and drinking water (deionized water or deionized water containing 200 μg/mL tungsten in the form of sodium tungstate). Mo content in the control and low Mo diets were 196 and 42 ng/g, respectively. Intake of the low Mo diet significantly reduced the Mo content of several organs and serum. Decrease in hepatic sulfite oxidase activity was also induced by the low Mo diet. The administration of tungsten induced marked decreases in organ Mo content and the activity of hepatic sulfite oxidase and xanthine oxidase. These decreases induced by tungsten administration were more pronounced than those induced by just a low Mo diet. Serum uric acid was also reduced by tungsten administration irrespective of Mo intake. Although a comparatively high accumulation of tungsten (3 to 9 μg/g) was observed in the kidneys and liver, adverse effects of tungsten accumulation on liver and kidney function were not observed in serum biochemical tests. These results indicate that tungsten-administered animals may be used as a model of Mo deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Molybdenum / administration & dosage
  • Molybdenum / deficiency
  • Molybdenum / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sulfite Oxidase / metabolism
  • Tungsten / administration & dosage
  • Tungsten / pharmacology*
  • Xanthine Oxidase / metabolism


  • Molybdenum
  • Xanthine Oxidase
  • Sulfite Oxidase
  • ammonium molybdate
  • Tungsten