Normal concentrations of essential and toxic elements in pregnant baboons and fetuses (Papio species)

Natalia E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch, G. B. Hubbard, M. J. Dammann, S. L. Jenkins, P. A. Frost, T. J. McDonald, P. W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Heavy metals are essential for the normal progression of maternal and fetal tissue growth and metabolism in pregnancy. Considerable data have been collected for concentrations of various elements in pregnant women, but no comprehensive evaluation of element concentrations in any non-human primate model has been performed. Baboons were studied at the second half of pregnancy. Forty essential and toxic element concentrations were analyzed by absorption spectrophotometry in paired maternal and fetal blood samples; hair and nail samples in pregnant baboons; in placenta, amniotic fluid; and fetal femur, lymph nodes, and liver. Concentrations demonstrated an excellent correlation with concentrations reported in late human pregnancy. Twenty-four elements were below detectable limits in various specimens. We conclude that the pregnant baboon offers unique opportunities to study both normal maternal, fetal, and placental physiology as well as the environmental toxicology of these elements. This information and the ability to use the pregnant baboon as a model is important because essential and toxic elements are key components of the diet as well as major products of manufacturing processes within our industrialized society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Baboons
  • Essential elements
  • Pregnancy
  • Toxic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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