INTRODUCTION: Fluorine and aluminum remain a very interesting research topic due to equivocal and relatively unknown toxic action, role in the etiology of various diseases, and interactions of both elements. Fluorine and aluminum compounds are absorbed by organisms through the gastric and respiratory systems, although the latter route operates only at very high concentrations in air. Chronic exposure to fluorine and aluminum leads to accumulation of both elements, especially in bones and teeth, but also in lung, brain, kidney, and liver. Organisms excrete these elements with urine, faeces, and to a minor extent with sweat and bile.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the light of reports suggesting that aluminum has protective properties against fluorine toxicity during exposure to both elements, we decided to examine the effect of alternating doses of aluminum fluoride and sodium fluoride in drinking water on rats. Four female groups received: I–100 ppm fluorine ions during one month; II–100 ppm fluorine ions alternating every two days with 300 ppm aluminum ions during one month; III–100 ppm fluoride ions during four months; IV–100 ppm fluorine ions alternating every two days with 300 ppm aluminum ions during four months. The respective male groups called IA, IIA, IIIA, and IVA were treated identically. Subsequently, the animals were anesthetized and sacrificed. Blood was sampled from the heart and the right femur was removed for fluorine determination. Fluorine content in the femur and serum was determined with an ion-selective electrode (Orion). The results were analyzed statistically (Statistica 6).
CONCLUSIONS: We observed higher fluoride concentrations in serum as compared with control values in all groups of female and male rats exposed to sodium fluoride only. Longer exposure time (4 months) did not result in further increase in serum fluoride concentration. However, longer exposure increased fluoride accumulation in the femur (p < 0.001). All groups exposed to NaF had significantly higher fluoride concentration in the femur as compared with control animals. Groups receiving NaF and AlCl3 showed lower fluoride concentration in serum and femur compared with those exposed to NaF only and higher in comparison with controls. Fluorine content in the femur of rats exposed to NaF and AlCI3 for four months was similar to the results obtained after one month of exposure.