Background: High fluoride levels in drinking water in relation to the prevalence of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka were investigated using rats as an experimental model.
Method: The effects of fluoride after oral administration of Sodium fluoride (NaF) at levels of 0, 0.5, 5 and 20 ppm F- were evaluated in adult male Wistar rats. Thirty-six rats were randomly divided into 4 groups (n = 9), namely, control, test I, II, and III. Control group was given daily 1 ml/rat of distilled water and test groups I, II, and III were treated 1 ml/rat of NaF doses of 0.5, 5, and 20 ppm, respectively, by using a stomach tube. Three rats from the control group and each experimental group were sacrificed after 15, 30, and 60 days following treatment. Serological and histopathological investigations were carried out using blood, kidney, and liver.
Results: No significant differences were observed in body weight gain and relative organ weights of the liver and kidney in fluoride-treated groups compared to control group. After 60 days of fluoride administration, group I showed a mild portal inflammation with lytic necrosis while multiple areas of focal necrosis and various degrees of portal inflammation were observed in groups II and III. This was further confirmed by increased serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities. As compared with control and other treated groups, group III showed a significantly higher serum AST activity (p < 0.05) and ALT activity (p < 0.05) after 60 days and ALP activity with a significant difference (p < 0.05) after 15, 30, and 60 days. The renal histological analysis showed normal histological features in all groups with the elevated serum creatinine levels in group III compared to those in the groups I and II (p < 0.05) after 60 days. Significantly elevated serum fluoride levels were observed in group II of 30 and 60 days and group III after 15, 30, and 60 days with respective to control groups (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Taken together, these findings indicate that there can be some alterations in liver enzyme activities at early stages of fluoride intoxication followed by renal damage.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu); Drinking water; Fluoride toxicity; Sri Lanka.