Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2015
Previous Article Next Article

The metallobiochemistry of ultratrace levels of platinum group elements in the rat

Author affiliations


The use of platinum, palladium and rhodium (Platinum Group Elements – PGEs) and the possibility of exposure to their ultratrace levels is increasing. In fact, the exponential development of metallic PGE-based nanoparticles (<100 nm in size) opens extraordinary perspectives in the areas of electrocatalysts and catalytic converters, magnetic nanopowders, polymer membranes, cancer therapy, coatings, plastics, nanofibres and textiles. Like other metal-based nanoparticles, exposure to PGEs nanoparticles may result in a release of ultratrace amounts of Pt, Pd, Rh ions in the body whose metabolic fate and toxicity still need to be evaluated. Furthermore, PGEs can act as allergic sensitizers by acting as haptens and inducing both type I and IV allergic reactions. In this work we studied the in vivo metabolic patterns of ultratrace levels of potent allergens and sensitizers PGE halogenated salts. 191Pt, 103Pd and 101mRh radioisotopes were prepared via cyclotron irradiation and used for radiolabelling Na2191PtCl4, Na2103PdCl4 and Na2101mRhCl6 salts. These anionic chlorocomplexes were intraperitoneally injected into rats (114 ng Pt kg−1 bodyweight; 24 ng Pd kg−1 b.w.; 16 ng Rh kg−1 b.w.). At 16 h post-exposure, PGEs were poorly but significantly retained in all tissues analysed. Kidneys, spleen, adrenal gland, liver, pancreas and small intestine were the organs with the highest Pt, Pd, Rh concentrations. In the blood 30–35% of 103Pd and 191Pt and 10% of 101mRh were recovered in the plasma, mainly bound to albumin and to a less extent to transferrin. The hepatic and renal intracellular distribution showed the highest recovery of 191Pt, 103Pd and 101mRh in the nuclear fraction (liver) and in the cytosol (kidney). Chromatographic separation and ultrafiltration experiments on kidney and liver cytosols showed the strong ability of biochemical macromolecules to bind 191Pt, 103Pd and 101mRh, and being responsible for the retention of the three elements in the body. The link to macromolecules is the basis for the sensitizing capacity of PGEs.

Graphical abstract: The metallobiochemistry of ultratrace levels of platinum group elements in the rat

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 12 Sep 2014, accepted on 22 Dec 2014 and first published on 22 Dec 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4MT00240G
Citation: Metallomics, 2015,7, 267-276
  •   Request permissions

    The metallobiochemistry of ultratrace levels of platinum group elements in the rat

    E. Sabbioni, S. Fortaner, S. Manenti, F. Groppi, M. Bonardi, S. Bosisio and M. Di Gioacchino, Metallomics, 2015, 7, 267
    DOI: 10.1039/C4MT00240G

Search articles by author