Effects of long-term high-level lead exposure on the immune function of workers


This work was undertaken to study the immunomodulatory effects of long-term exposure to varying levels of lead (Pb) in workers. A total of 49 people who underwent occupational health examinations from 2009 to 2018 were selected as study subjects. Differences between the two group populations regarding the levels of T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, and granulocytes, as well as the levels of TH1/TH2/TH17 cytokines, were evaluated. The results indicated that the percentages of CD3+ cells in the high-Pb group were significantly higher than those in the low-Pb counterparts (p < .05). In contrast, the percentages of CD3-CD16+CD56+ cells were significantly lower in the high-Pb workers. There were no significant differences in other immunommy cells and TH1/TH2/TH17 cytokine between the groups. CD3+ cell levels in workers positively correlated with blood Pb levels (Rs = 0.378, p = .007), while the expression of CD3-CD16+CD56+ cells was negatively correlated (Rs = -0.320, p = .025). There was no significant correlation between blood Pb concentration and the other immune endpoints evaluated here.

Authors: Jianrui Dou, Le Zhou, Yi Zhao, Wu Jin, Huanxi Shen, Feng Zhang
; Full Source: Archives of environmental & occupational health 2021 Mar 10;1-8. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2021.1893632.