Perchlorate, the oxidizer component in most solid rocket propellant formulations, is known to inhibit the uptake of iodide into the thyroid gland, thereby reducing production of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in endothermic organisms and are responsible for maintenance of homeothermic body temperatures. Little is known about the effects of perchlorate on metabolic capacity. The objectives of the present study were to determine if subchronic (51 d; 0, 1, and 10 mg/kg/d) and chronic (180 d; 0.75 mg/kg/d) perchlorate exposure in adult male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) would alter resting metabolic rates as a result of decreased circulating thyroid hormone concentrations and to determine if perchlorate exposure disrupts thermogenesis in mammals exposed to cold stress. Voles exposed to perchlorate for 51 or 180 d experienced no significant alterations in resting metabolic rates at any point during the exposure period. Additionally, the treatment had no effect on peak metabolic rates or plasma thyroid hormone concentrations. However, thyroid gland T 4 concentrations were significantly lower in perchlorate-exposed voles than in controls, indicating that thyroid gland T4 content may be a more sensitive endpoint than other thyroid variables for assessing perchlorate exposure. Overall, the present study did not provide evidence for energetic alterations associated with perchlorate exposure at concentrations that are higher than those typically found in groundwater or surface water in the environment.
- Metabolic rate