Immunity in Children with Exposure to Environmental Lead: II. Effects on Humoral Immunity


Lead has been found to depress the immune system in animal studies at levels far below those responsible for overt toxicity. Literature studies in animal systems most clearly showed an effect of lead on response to a specific immunogenic stimulus. Data are sparse concerning the effects of lead on the immune system in the human population at greatest risk for exposure-children up to six years of age. This portion of the Phase I study reports concentrations of IgG, IgM, IgA, and IgE, as well as antibody titers to the specific antigenic stimuli provided by the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and Rubella. The study population consisted of a group of 193 children, ages 9 months to 6 years, who participate in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs in the urban area of Springfield-Greene County Missouri. Blood lead levels ranged from 1 to 50 μg dL-1. Total Ig levels were determined and the data were analysed. No consistent significant differences were observed among the risk categories in the five age groups examined. A single Ig class in each of three age groups showed apparent significant differences among the various risk categories, but these differences were not correlated with blood lead. An analysis of specific antibody titers to diphtheria, tetanus, and Rubella was performed. Regression analyses of current data in Phase I of this study suggest a detrimental effect of lead on the antibody titres to diphtheria and Rubella. © 1994 Sciences and Technology Letters.



Second Department

Biological Sciences

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1573-2983; 0269-4042

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Dec 1994