Association between lead exposure and DNA damage (genotoxicity): systematic review and meta-analysis


Studies suggest that chronic lead (Pb) exposure may induce deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage. However, there is no synthesised evidence in this regard. We systematically reviewed existing literature and synthesised evidence on the association between chronic Pb exposure and markers of genotoxicity. Observational studies reporting biomarkers of DNA damage among occupationally Pb-exposed and unexposed controls were systematically searched from PubMed, Scopus and Embase databases from inception to January 2022. The markers included were micronucleus frequency (MN), chromosomal aberrations, comet assay, and 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine. During the execution of this review, we followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Mean differences in the biological markers of DNA damage between Pb-exposed and control groups were pooled using the random-effects model. The heterogeneity was assessed using the Cochran-Q test and I2 statistic. The review included forty-five studies comparing markers of DNA damage between Pb-exposed and unexposed. The primary studies utilised buccal and/or peripheral leukocytes for evaluating the DNA damage. The pooled quantitative results revealed significantly higher DNA damage characterised by increased levels of MN and SCE frequency, chromosomal aberrations, and oxidative DNA damage (comet assay and 8-OHdG) among Pb-exposed than the unexposed. However, studies included in the review exhibited high levels of heterogeneity among the studies. Chronic Pb exposure is associated with DNA damage. However, high-quality, multicentred studies are required to strengthen present observations and further understand the Pb’s role in inducing DNA damage. CRD42022286810.

Authors: Raju Nagaraju, Ravibabu Kalahasthi, Rakesh Balachandar, Bhavani Shankara Bagepally
; Full Source: Archives of toxicology 2022 Aug 5. doi: 10.1007/s00204-022-03352-9.