In the present study renal and hepatic toxicity was assessed by histopathological and ultrastructural evaluation of liver and kidney tissues of rats exposed to lead and cadmium alone and in combination. Forty eight male albino Wistar rats were divided into 4 groups 12 rats in each group; group 1(control) was given deionized water, group 2 (lead group) was given water with lead acetate @ 30 mg/kg b.wt, group 3 (cadmium group) was given water with cadmium chloride @15 mg/kg b.wt, and group 4 (combined group) was given water with both lead acetate@ 30 mg/kg b.wt and cadmium chloride @15 mg/kg b.wt for 28 days. The histopathological changes in liver revealed congestion, sinusoidal dilatation, vacuolar degeneration, infiltration of MNCs in hepatic parenchyma and bile duct hyperplasia. Kidney sections showed degenerative changes in tubules, congestion, inter tubular hemorrhages and presence of casts. Scanning electron microscopy of liver revealed abnormal erythrocytes and accumulation of lead and cadmium in the tissues.
Transmission electron microscopy of liver of group 2, group 3 and group 4 revealed swollen to condensed and pyknotic nucleus, electron dense material in nucleus, mitochondrial changes like swollen to condensed mitochondria, increased number of mitochondria and ruptured endoplasmic reticulum. Kidney showed swollen nucleus with condensed nucleolus and margination of chromatin, cytoplasm showed vacuolation, swollen mitochondria with electron dense material, epithelium of tubules showed dilation of nuclear pore along with margination of chromatin.