Tar particulates from cigarette smoke contain compounds with affinity for the Ah receptor. The sidestream activity is larger than that of the mainstream with a ratio of about 5. The compounds causing the affinity appear in the neutral fraction after chemical fractionation excluding basic and acidic components as major contributors to the affinity. The affinity cannot be explained by benzo[a]pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons but it might be caused by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and related compounds and by oxidized tryptophan derivatives.
The role of the autopsy is discussed in the study of the etiology of the current major causes of death (cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases) in developed countries. Evidence is accumulating for the importance of environmental factors in the etiology of these diseases. The study of regional differences in occurrence is described as a method of identifying specific factors. Maps are shown of mortality rates for all causes of death in Ontario counties for males aged 65-74 and 95+ during 1964-68. Some of the difficulties in obtaining data in this form, and in their analysis, are indicated. Regional mortality patterns can be interpreted by the use of associations with available regional socioeconomic measures, or by the use of regional data on trace-metal levels in autopsy samples of human lung, rib, vertebra, kidney and liver. The methodology and the difficulties involved in the determination of trace-metal levels in these tissues are discussed, as is the possible relevance of these levels to the study of degenerative diseases. All these considerations emphasize the valuable contributions of autopsy studies.
To determine the cadmium exposure level in the Danish population, tissue samples of kidney and liver were collected over the period 1981 to 1987 at the Institutes of Forensic Medicine in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus. A total of 795 samples were collected, of which 143 were selected for analysis using, the criteria sudden violent death (accident, homicide or suicide). Cadmium concentrations in kidney cortex increased by age to a maximum of approximately 22 micrograms/g/g (w/w) in the age group 45-55 years and decreased in the older age group, while liver concentrations tended to increase throughout the entire lifespan. Cadmium concentrations in kidney cortex and liver were found significantly correlated. The findings are in good agreement with internationally published data, but lower than previously reported Danish concentration levels. The reason for this difference is discussed.
Specimens of male and brooding female eider (Somateria mollissima) were collected in Svalbard. Chemical analyses revealed hepatic copper concentrations ranging from 20 to 1050 micrograms per g wet weight. This is in agreement with previous results. The selenium, zinc and cadmium values were equal to or slightly higher than previously recorded. It is suggested that the wide variation in copper concentration is a result of differences in intake of copper-containing food among the birds. High selenium intake may enhance copper accumulation. Starvation influences the concentration of zinc and also copper. Zinc concentrations were significantly higher in females. This may be secondary to starvation. The percentage of copper recovered among the soluble proteins was inversely related to the copper content. The distribution of the soluble proteins reflects a normal copper metabolism. Microscopic studies showed prominent dark granules, positive with the rubeanic acid test for copper, confined to hepatocytes. By electron microscopy, the granules appeared as large irregular, electron-dense bodies that, by X-ray microanalysis, were found to contain copper. There were no signs of liver injuries such as necrosis and fibrosis. Apparently, the eider has evolved a high capacity for copper storage.