Gastrointestinal uptake and fate of cadmium in rainbow trout acclimated to sublethal dietary cadmium

M. J. Chowdhury, D. G. McDonald, C. M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Adult rainbow trout were pre-exposed to a sublethal concentration of dietary Cd (500 mg/kg dry wt.) for 30 days to induce acclimation. A gastrointestinal dose of radiolabeled Cd (276 μg/kg wet wt.) was infused into the stomach of non-acclimated and Cd-acclimated trout through a stomach catheter. Repetitive blood samples over 24 h and terminal tissue samples were taken to investigate the gastrointestinal uptake, plasma clearance kinetics, and tissue distribution of Cd. Only a small fraction of the infused dose (non-acclimated: 2.4%; Cd-acclimated: 6.6%) was internalized across the gut wall, while most was bound in the gut tissues (10-24%) or remained in the lumen (16-33%) or lost from the fish (∼50%) over 24 h. Cadmium loading during pre-exposure produced a profound increase of total Cd in the blood plasma (∼28-fold) and red blood cells (RBC; ∼20-fold). The plasma Cd-time profiles consisted of an apparent rising (uptake) phase and a declining (clearance) phase with a maximum value of uptake in 4 h, suggesting that uptake of gastrointestinally infused Cd was very rapid. Acclimation to dietary Cd did not affect plasma Cd clearance (∼0.5 ml/min), but enhanced new Cd levels in the plasma (but not in the RBC), and resulted in a longer half-life for plasma Cd. Tissue total and new Cd levels varied in different regions of the gastrointestinal tract, and overall levels in gut tissues were much greater than in non-gut tissues, reflecting the Cd exposure route. Dietary Cd, but not the infused Cd, greatly increased total Cd levels of all gut tissues in the order posterior-intestine (640-fold) > cecae (180-fold) > mid-intestine (94-fold) > stomach (53-fold) in Cd-acclimated fish relative to naïve fish. Among non-gut tissues in the Cd-acclimated fish, the great increases of total Cd levels were observed in the liver (73-fold), kidney (39-fold), carcass (35-fold), and gills (30-fold). The results provide some clear conclusions that may be useful for environmental risk assessment of dietary Cd exposure in fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-163
Number of pages15
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 10 2004


  • Acclimation
  • Cadmium
  • Chronic
  • Clearance
  • Dietary
  • Kinetics
  • Plasma
  • RBC
  • Trout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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