Pathologic changes, tissue distribution, and extent of conversion to ethylenethiourea after subacute administration of zinc ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate (zineb) to calves with immature rumen function

Carlo Nebbia From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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Enrico Ferrero From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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Federico Valenza From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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Massimo Castagnaro From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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Giovanni Re From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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Maria Gennaro Soffietti From the Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, I-10126 Torino, Italy.

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SUMMARY

The toxicity of zinc ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate (zineb), a widely used fungicide, was studied in four 4-week-old Friesian calves with immature rumen function. Calves were first subjected to liver biopsy, and thereafter, 3 of them were orally administered 200 mg of zineb/kg of body weight daily for 80 days, whereas the fourth calf served as control and remained untreated. Clinical, hematologic, and pathologic (including ultrastructural) findings were recorded. The distribution in body fluids and tissues of the parent compound and one of its main metabolites, ethylenethiourea (etu), also was examined. Treated calves had unthrifty appearance and reduction in weight gain. They also had remarkable impairment of thyroid function, as reflected by reduction in serum concentrations of triiodothyronine and thyroxine and increase in weight of the thyroid gland associated with epithelial vacuolization and foci of hyperplasia. Moderate increase in liver glycogen content and impairment in maturation of germ cells were recorded consistently. Whereas zineb was widely distributed in body tissues, etu accumulated mainly in the liver and the thyroid gland, although noticeable concentrations also were attained in muscle. Data were consistent with involvement of etu mainly in the pathogenesis of thyroid gland lesions, and indicate that unweaned calves given zineb develop a clinicopathologic syndrome that does not differ qualitatively from that already described in adult cattle exposed to zineb.

SUMMARY

The toxicity of zinc ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate (zineb), a widely used fungicide, was studied in four 4-week-old Friesian calves with immature rumen function. Calves were first subjected to liver biopsy, and thereafter, 3 of them were orally administered 200 mg of zineb/kg of body weight daily for 80 days, whereas the fourth calf served as control and remained untreated. Clinical, hematologic, and pathologic (including ultrastructural) findings were recorded. The distribution in body fluids and tissues of the parent compound and one of its main metabolites, ethylenethiourea (etu), also was examined. Treated calves had unthrifty appearance and reduction in weight gain. They also had remarkable impairment of thyroid function, as reflected by reduction in serum concentrations of triiodothyronine and thyroxine and increase in weight of the thyroid gland associated with epithelial vacuolization and foci of hyperplasia. Moderate increase in liver glycogen content and impairment in maturation of germ cells were recorded consistently. Whereas zineb was widely distributed in body tissues, etu accumulated mainly in the liver and the thyroid gland, although noticeable concentrations also were attained in muscle. Data were consistent with involvement of etu mainly in the pathogenesis of thyroid gland lesions, and indicate that unweaned calves given zineb develop a clinicopathologic syndrome that does not differ qualitatively from that already described in adult cattle exposed to zineb.

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