Dietary lead and calcium: Effects on blood pressure and renal neoplasia in Wistar rats

J. D. Bogden, S. B. Gertner, F. W. Kemp, R. McLeod, K. S. Bruening, H. R. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We examined the potential of increased Ca in the diet to modify the effects of Pb on tissue metal concentrations, blood pressure and the incidence of renal tumors. We randomly assigned 48, 5-wk-old male Wistar rats to one of six treatment groups. They were fed a low (0.2%) or high (4.0%) Ca diet for 31 wk and given 0, 1.0 or 100 μg Pb/mL in drinking water. In the low Ca groups, increasing concentrations of Pb produced graded increases in mean blood pressure. Rats receiving 4.0% Ca had higher mean blood pressures than the animals fed the 0.2% Ca diet. The 4.0% Ca diet also caused renal and urinary bladder stones to develop in some rats. The high Ca diet did not prevent dose-dependent increases in tissue Pb accumulation, but it caused significant decreases in kidney Cu, femur Mg and Fe in kidney, liver and testis. Femur Mg and Fe and liver Fe concentrations were lowest in rats receiving 4.0% Ca and 100 μg Pb/mL. Precancerous and cancerous renal lesions occurred to the greatest extent in the rats receiving 100 μg Pb/mL and the high Ca diet. These results suggest that high dietary Ca does not protect against Pb-induced increases in blood pressure or Pb accumulation in tissues and may often produce nephrocalcinosis. In addition, high dietary Ca in the presence of Pb may increase the incidence of renal tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-728
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Calcium
  • Kidney tumors
  • Lead
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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