Blood lead levels and increased bronchial responsiveness.
Min, JY; Min, KB; Kim, R; Cho, SI; Paek, D
Biological trace element research, 123(1-3):41-46, 2008
Biological trace element research
The immune system is one of the targets most sensitive to lead toxicity, and the association between lead exposure and serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) has been published. Recent studies also reported that lead caused the development of IgE-mediated allergy. To investigate whether blood lead levels contribute to other allergic conditions, we examined the effect of blood lead on bronchial responsiveness (BR) in the general population. We performed a cross-sectional study with adults aged 19 to 58 years in a Korean community. Blood lead level and the methacholine provocation test were performed. The overall mean blood lead level was 2.9 microg/dl, and the mean BR index was 1.14. The percent of subjects with clinically diagnosed asthma was 21 (4%) and there was no difference in blood lead level with and without asthma. In the multiple regression model, the elevation of blood lead level was related to the increase of BR after adjusting for age, sex, height, smoking status, and the presence of asthma. Blood lead level was significantly associated with increased BR that came from the elevation of the IgE level with lead exposure. Lead may contribute to the increase of asthma and other allergic conditions.
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