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Toxicol Ind Health. 2002 Sep;18(8):377-88.

Effect of mercury vapour exposure on urinary excretion of calcium, zinc and copper: relationship to alterations in functional and structural integrity of the kidney.

Author information

1
Biochemistry Sec., Chemistry Dept., Faculty of Education, Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. elsafty54@yahoo.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The kidney has a remarkable capacity to concentrate mercury (Hg) and as such is a primary target organ when exposure to Hg occurs, and it is also an organ for Hg excretion.

OBJECTIVE:

The present work aims to investigate the effect of occupational Hg vapour exposure on the urinary excretion of calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), and the possible association of this excretion to work duration as well as renal alterations.

METHODS:

83 non-smoker participants (36 referents, age: 35.6 +/- 9.5 years; 27 Hg vapour-exposed workers with < or = 10 years work duration, age: 33.0 +/- 5.1 years; and 20 Hg vapour-exposed workers with > or = 11 years work duration, age: 39.50 +/- 8.50 years) were included in the present study. Urinary levels of microalbumin (U-Malb) and retinol-binding protein (U-RBP) as well as cytosolic glutathione S-transferase activity (U-GST) were measured to assess the glomerular and proximal tubular reabsorption functions as well as structural integrity of proximal tubules; respectively. In addition, blood Hg (B-Hg), serum levels of Hg (S-Hg) and Ca (S-Ca), and urinary levels of Hg (U-Hg), Ca (U-Ca), Zn (U-Zn), Cu (U-Cu) and creatinine (U-cr) were estimated.

RESULTS:

In comparison to referents, all investigated parameters showed significant increase (except S-Ca and U-Zn/U-Cu ratio that significantly decreased among the workers as one group, S-Ca and U-Zn/U-Cu ratio that significantly and nonsignificantly decreased; respectively among workers with < or = 10 years work duration, S-Ca and U-Zn/U-Cu ratio that significantly decreased among workers with > or = 11 years work duration). In addition, B-Hg was nonsignificantly increased and S-Ca was significantly decreased; also, both U-Hg and U-Zn/U-Cu were nonsignificantly decreased among workers with > or = 11 years work duration in comparison to those with < or = 10 years work duration. Also, each of U-Hg, U-Ca, U-Zn and U-Cu was related to one another, while each of U-Ca, U-Zn and U-Cu was related to each of U-Malb, U-RBP and U-GST (except U-Zn was not related to U-GST).

CONCLUSION:

Hg vapour exposure leads to renal alterations which may parallel the change in proteinuria and enzymuria as well as the increased loss in urine of each of Ca, Zn and Cu. The urinary assessment of these metals may be used as a good indicator for renal dysfunction.

PMID:
15119526
DOI:
10.1191/0748233702th160oa
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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