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Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 1996 Mar;47(1):1-8.

Chronic lead poisoning, renal function and immune response.

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Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia.


The aim of this study was to investigate possible correlations between chronic, recurrent lead poisoning, renal function and immune response. The study involved 74 patients with a history of at least one lead poisoning. Fifty-three patients were occupationally poisoned, and 21 were poisoned accidentally after consumption of alcohol beverages or food from lead glazed pottery. In all patients glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was determined by measuring creatinine and DTPA clearances, and T- and B-lymphocytes were assessed as indicators of cellular and humoral immunity. A significant negative correlation was found between the number of past lead poisonings indicating increased lead body burden, and both creatinine and DTPA clearances. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of poisonings and the percentage of B-lymphocytes (r = 0.31; P < 0.05), and no correlation at all with the T-lymphocyte count. Our results show that chronic, recurrent lead poisoning with a consequently increasing lead body burden can cause an impairment in renal function and a concomitant stimulation of humoral immunity.

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