1. One-day old American kestrel (Falco sparverius) nestlings were orally dosed daily with 5 ?l/g of corn oil (controls), 25, 125 or 625 mg/kg of metallic lead in corn oil for 10 days. 2. Forty per cent of the nestlings receiving 625 mg/kg of lead died after 6 days and growth rates were significantly depressed in the two highest lead dosed groups. At 10 days hematocrit values were significantly lower in the two highest lead treated groups, and hemoglobin content and red blood cell *-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) activity was depressed in all lead treated groups. Plasma creatine phosphokinase decreased in the two highest treatment groups. 3. Brain, liver and kidney ALAD activities, brain RNA to protein ratio and liver protein concentration decreased after lead exposure whereas liver DNA. DNA to RNA ratio and DNA to protein ratio increased. Brain monoamine oxidase and ATPase were not significantly altered. 4. Measurements of the ontogeny of hematological variants and enzymes in normal development, using additional untreated nestlings. revealed decreases in red blood cell ALAD, plasma aspartate amino transferase, lactate dehydrogenase. brain DNA and RNA and liver DNA, whereas hematocrit, hemoglobin, plasma alkaline phosphatase, brain monoamine oxidase, brain ALAD and liver ALAD increased during the first 10 days of posthatching development. 5. Biochemical and hematological alterations were more severe than those reported in adult kestrels or precocial young birds exposed to lead. Alterations may be due in part to delayed development.
Additional publication details
Biochemical and hematological effects of lead ingestion in nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius)