Toxic trace metals and pathological changes in organs of rats fed with extract of polluted grasses

T. A. Modise, M. L. Mpholwane, C. Baker, J. O. Olowoyo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated the pathological effects of trace metals in organs of Wistar rats fed with extracts of grasses collected from areas surrounding mining industries. The rats were examined for clinical signs during the experimental period and the concentration of trace metals in organs was examined using ICP-MS. The kidneys were analysed for pathological changes under Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Generally, trace metal concentration in the organs of the rats followed the order Zn > Cu > Mn > As. These trace metals were bio-accumulated more in the spleen than kidneys and livers. Clinical signs such as hair loss, reduced fluid intake, pale ears and feet and skin irritation were observed. TEM investigation of kidney glomeruli showed pathology such as the presence of mesangial deposits, as well as the villous formation and effaced foot processes of the podocytes. Trace metals were bioaccumulated in the organs of the rats and spleen had a higher concentration, which might have negative effects on the organs. It was concluded from the study that plants harvested from polluted sites might be harmful when consumed as they have the potential to induce organ dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1055
Number of pages9
JournalNature Environment and Pollution Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Pathological changes
  • Polluted grasses
  • Rats
  • Trace metals


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