Lead is a toxin of great public health concern affecting the young and aging population. Several factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, dose, and genetic makeup result in interindividual variations to lead toxicity mainly due to variations in metabolic consequences. Hence, the present study aimed to examine dose-dependent lead-induced systemic changes in metabolism using rat model by administering specific doses of lead such as 10 (low lead; L-Pb), 50 (moderate lead; M-Pb), and 100 mg/kg (high lead; H-Pb) body weight for a period of one month. Biochemical and haematological analysis revealed that H-Pb was associated with low body weight and feed efficiency, low total protein levels (p ≤ 0.05), high blood lead (Pb-B) levels (p ≤ 0.001), low ALAD (δ-aminolevulinate dehydratase) activity (p ≤ 0.0001), high creatinine (p ≤ 0.0001) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) (p ≤ 0.01) levels, elevated RBC and WBC counts, reduced haemoglobin and blood cell indices compared to control. Spatial learning and memory test revealed that H-Pb exposed animals presented high latency to the target quadrant and escape platform compared to other groups indicating H-Pb alters cognition function in rats. Histopathological changes were observed in liver and kidney as they are the main target organs of lead toxicity. LC-MS analysis further revealed that Butyryl-L-carnitine (p ≤ 0.01) and Ganglioside GD2 (d18:0/20:0) (p ≤ 0.05) levels were significantly reduced in H-Pb group compared to all groups. Further, pathway enrichment analysis revealed abundance and significantly modulated metabolites associated with oxidative stress pathways. The present study is the first in vivo model of dose-dependent lead exposure for serum metabolite profiling.
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