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Vet Hum Toxicol. 2002 Aug;44(4):205-10.

Lead exposure enhances virus multiplication and pathogenesis in mice.

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Virology Laboratory, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, MG Marg, Lucknow, India.


Suppression of the immune system by environmental xenobiotics may cause increased susceptibility of the host towards a variety of microbial pathogens an result in a life-threatening state. We investigated whether lead exposure would enhance susceptibility to Semliki Forest Virus (SFV). Mice orally exposed to lead acetate (62.5, 125, 250 or 500 mg/kg bw) exhibited increased mortality and decreased mean survival time compared to untreated animals on challenge with SFV. The mortality was associated with enhancement of high virus titer and earlier appearance of virus in lead-exposed mice. Histopathological studies observed enhancement of viral pathogenesis in a dose dependent pattern in the lead-dosed group challenged with SFV. The results indicate that exposure to lead enhanced susceptibility to viral infection. Environmental metal contamination and subsequent infection by pathogenic microbes points necessitate studies on the interaction of environmental pollutants on the immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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