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A study of the immunotoxic effects of lead.
Pinkerton-L; Biagini-R; Ward-E; Hull-R; Boeniger-M; Schnorr-T; Luster-M
Am J Epidemiol 1995 Jun; 141(11)(Suppl):S7
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.
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
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DSHEFS, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Epidemiology. Abstracts of the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, Snowbird, Utah, June 21-24, 1995
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division