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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 424358, 6 pages
Research Article

Chronic Exposure to Cadmium Disrupts the Adrenal Gland Activity of the Newt Triturus carnifex (Amphibia, Urodela)

1Department of Biology, University Federico II, Via Mezzocannone 8, 80134 Naples, Italy
2Department of Chemistry and Biology, University of Salerno, Fisciano, 84084 Salerno, Italy

Received 26 April 2013; Revised 4 July 2013; Accepted 7 July 2013

Academic Editor: Claudia Gragnoli

Copyright © 2013 Flaminia Gay et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We intended to verify the safety of the freshwater values established for cadmium by the European Community and the Italian Ministry of Health in drinking water (5 μg/L) and sewage waters (20 μg/L). Therefore, we chronically exposed the newt Triturus carnifex to 5 μg/L and 20 μg/L doses of cadmium, respectively, during 3 and 9 months and verified the effects on the adrenal gland. We evaluated the serum concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), corticosterone, aldosterone, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. During the 3-month exposure, both doses of cadmium decreased ACTH and corticosterone serum levels and increased aldosterone and epinephrine serum levels. During the 9-month exposure, the 5 μg/L dose decreased ACTH and increased aldosterone and epinephrine serum levels; the 20 μg/L dose decreased norepinephrine and epinephrine serum levels, without affecting the other hormones. It was concluded that (1) chronic exposure to the safety values established for cadmium disrupted the adrenal gland activity and (2) the effects of cadmium were related both to the length of exposure and the dose administered. Moreover, our results suggest probable risks to human health, due to the use of water contaminated by cadmium.