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A study of the immunotoxic effects of lead.

Authors
Pinkerton-L; Biagini-R; Ward-E; Hull-R; Boeniger-M; Schnorr-T; Luster-M
Source
Am J Epidemiol 1995 Jun; 141(11)(Suppl):S7
NIOSHTIC No.
20035613
Abstract
Lead both stimulates and suppresses different aspects of immune function in animals. To date, there is limited human data on the immunologic effects of lead. In this study, 145 secondary lead smelter workers and 84 unexposed workers were evaluated to determine the immunologic effects of lead exposure. Saliva was analyzed for IgA (sIgA), and blood was analyzed for cell markers, immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM), complement, natural killer cell activity, and lymphocyte response to tetanus toxoid. The median blood lead level was 39 microg/dL (range: 15-55 microg/dL) among exposed and <2 microg/dL among unexposed workers (range: <2-12 microg/dL). The percentage of CD 19+ cells was lower (13.93% vs. 16.05%) and the percentage of CD3+ cells was higher (75.15% vs. 72.74%) in the exposed group than in the unexposed group (t test or Wilcoxon rank sum test; p<0.05). The mean levels of IgA, IgG, and slgA were also higher in the exposed group (222.59 mg/dL vs. 196.12 mg/dL, U77A7 mg/dL vs. 1077.96 mg/dL, and 19.50 vs. 12.56 mg/dL, respectively). These preliminary results suggest that lead may affect the immune system, stimulating the production of certain immunoglobulins, increasing the proportion of T (CD3+) cells, and decreasing the proportion of B (CDI9+) cells. Although extreme changes in immune parameters can reduce resistance-to disease, the clinical significance of these mild immuno-logic effects is unclear.
Keywords
Biological-effects; Biological-monitoring; Biomarkers; Blood-analysis; Blood-cells; Epidemiology; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Immune-reaction; Immune-system; Immunoglobulins; Immunotoxins; Lead-fumes; Lead-production; Lead-smelting; Lymphatic-system; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Toxic-effects; Toxic-materials; Toxicology; Toxicopathology; Toxic-vapors; Toxins; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-health; Workplace-studies; Work-practices
Contact
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DSHEFS, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
CODEN
AJEPAS
CAS No.
7439-92-1
Publication Date
19950601
Document Type
Abstract
Fiscal Year
1995
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
11
ISSN
0002-9262
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS; HELD
Source Name
American Journal of Epidemiology. Abstracts of the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, Snowbird, Utah, June 21-24, 1995
State
OH
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