The influence of chronic and subacute exposure to lead on the levels of prolactin, leptin, osteopontin, and follistatin in humans
This study was designed to determine the levels of prolactin, leptin, osteopontin, and follistatin in workers chronically and subacutely exposed to lead compounds. The examined population consisted of three groups. The first group was composed of 56 male workers who were chronically exposed to lead for 13.38 ± 10.38 years. The second group served as a control group and consisted of 24 male administrative workers, while the third group included 32 male workers exposed to lead for 40 ± 3 days. The levels of leptin, osteopontin, and prolactin were significantly lower in the group of workers chronically exposed to lead than in the control group by 42%, 26%, and 41%, respectively. The levels of follistatin did not differ between those groups. The levels of all measured hormones did not change after a short-term exposure to lead compared to baseline. Chronic lead exposure is associated with significantly decreased level of prolactin, leptin, and osteopontin. Lead-induced changes in the levels of these hormones may disturb many functions of the human body, including the immune response, metabolism, reproduction, and bone turnover.