Response of hepatic carbohydrate and cyclic AMP metabolism to cadmium treatment in rats

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


Daily intraperitoneal injection of cadmium chloride (0.25 or 1 mg/kg) for 21 or 45 days into rats significantly stimulated the activities of hepatic pyruvate carboxylase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, fructose-1, 6-diphosphatase, and glucose-6-phosphatase, increased the concentrations of glucose and urea in the blood, and decreased the levels of glycogen in the liver. Whereas chronic cadmium treatment failed to alter adenosine-3',5'-monophosphate phosphodiesterase (phosphodiesterase) activity, the endogenous levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) and the activity of basal- and fluoride-stimulated forms of hepatic adenylate cyclase (AC) were markedly increased in cadmium-injected animals. Treatment with the higher dose (1.0 mg/kg) of cadmium chloride for 45 days produced greater metabolic alterations in hepatic tissue than those seen with the lower dose (0.25 mg/kg) given for a shorter period of time (21 days). Discontinuation of cadmium administration for 14 days in rats previously injected with cadmium chloride (1 mg/kg per day) for 21 days, failed to reverse the observed changes in hepatic cAMP or carbohydrate metabolism. A similar persistence of metabolic alterations was noted in rats treated with cadmium (1 mg/kg per day) for 45 days and subsequently maintained without additional treatment for 28 days. Administration of an acute dose of cadmium chloride (60 mg/kg) decreased hepatic phosphodiesterase activity and glycogen content 1 h after the injection. In addition, acute cadmium exposure increased blood glucose, serum urea, and hepatic cAMP levels, and produced an augmentation of basal- and fluoride-activated AC. However, the activities of various hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes remained unaffected in animals given an acute dose of cadmium chloride (60 mg/kg). Data provide evidence that suggests that the gluconeogenic potential of liver is markedly enhanced following chronic exposure to cadmium and that the cadmium-induced changes in carbohydrate metabolism may be associated with an enhanced synthesis of cAMP. In addition, the present study shows that the cadmium-induced metabolic alterations persist even after the cessation of cadmium treatment for a period of 28 days.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology