The influence of occupational chronic lead exposure on the levels of selected pro-inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic factors

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the effect of occupational exposure to lead on the blood levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and selected factors that influence angiogenesis. The study population was divided into two groups. The first group consisted of 56 male workers chronically exposed to lead. The second group (control) was comprised of 24 male administrative workers. The serum levels of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) were significantly higher in the group of workers chronically exposed to lead compared to control values by 38%, 68%, and 57%, respectively. Similarly, the values of soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (sVEGFR-1) and fibroblast growth factor-basic (FGF-basic) were higher by 19% and 63%, respectively. In the group of workers chronically exposed to lead, there were positive correlations between the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) and angiogenic factors (VEGF, FGF-basic, sVEGFR-1, and soluble angiopoietin receptor). In the control group, there were no correlations between the levels of the abovementioned parameters. Results of the present study indicate that chronic occupational lead exposure promotes inflammatory processes via induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, modulates angiogenesis, and elicits interdependencies between the immune response and angiogenic factors.

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