Use of Wild Rodents for Environmental Monitoring - Comparison of Rats in Bangkok and Rural Areas of Thailand


There is a great deal of concern regarding the hazard potential of human exposure to toxic substances and ‍carcinogens as well as infectious agents in the environment. For monitoring purposes fish are well established with ‍regard to aquatic pollution. However, for the human environment, mammalian species might be considered more ‍relevant. As the various types of rats are one of the most common animals sharing human habitants they are natural ‍candidates. In the present study, numbers of such wild rats were trapped in the metropolis of Bangkok and country ‍regions of Thailand for comparison of lesions in the liver and lung which might provide indicators of carcinogens or ‍other hazardous agents in the environment. Glutathione S transferase P form positive foci could be detected in ‍livers, comparable to the laboratory rat case, but without any significant link to site of capture. In contrast, fatty ‍liver and inflammation/cirrhosis were significantly more frequent in animals from the metropolis. Parasite infection ‍also tended to be more prevalent, along with leptospirosis. Inflammatory change was similarly found in the lungs ‍but without any variation between the city and countryside groups. These results suggest that wild rats could be ‍employed as monitors of environmental agents of toxicological significance. ‍