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Indian J Med Res. 2008 Oct;128(4):426-35.

Cardiovascular effects of lead exposure.

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Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


Several epidemiological and clinical studies have found a link between chronic lead exposure and elevated blood pressure. In addition, a few population studies have shown possible connection between lead exposure and other cardiovascular disorders including ischaemic coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents, and peripheral vascular disease. The causal link between chronic lead exposure and hypertension (HTN) has been confirmed by several studies in experimental animals. In addition, the effects of lead on the heart and vascular function have been explored in a limited number of in vivo and in vitro studies. The in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro studies conducted in laboratory animal, cultured cells and isolated tissues have helped to elucidate many of the mechanisms by which lead exposure can cause HTN and cardiovascular disease. This review is intended to provide an overview of the epidemiology and the underlying mechanisms of lead-associated HTN and cardiovascular disease.

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