Studies in the vicinities of copper smelters and in undisturbed areas of the Middle Urals have been performed to evaluate the effect of industrial pollution with heavy metals on macro- and micromorphological parameters of kidneys (weight, weight index, the spectrum and frequency of histopathologies) in the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus Schreber, 1780) and on the accumulation of Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb in this organ. It has been found that the kidneys of voles from polluted areas accumulate considerable amounts of heavy metals, with their concentrations increasing with age and/or sexual maturation. The kidney weight, index, and the frequency and severity of the majority of observed nephropathies also increase upon change in the reproductive-age status of animals. These parameters show no dependence on the degree of industrial pollution: at individual level, none of the heavy metals accumulated in the kidneys has produced any effect on the frequency and severity of nephropathies. These results contradict the prevailing opinion that toxicants play the determinant role in the development of nephropathies in small mammals inhabiting polluted areas. Therefore, the causes of nephropathies should be sought among other factors, not related to pollution.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 15, 2014
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