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The relationship of blood lead with immunoglobulin E, eosinophils, and asthma among children: NHANES 2005-2006

The relationship of blood lead with immunoglobulin E, eosinophils, and asthma among children: NHANES 2005-2006

International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 217(2-3): 196-204

Early life lead exposure may alter immune function and predispose a child to develop asthma. In an initial exploration of this hypothesis, we examined the association between blood lead, and serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), eosinophils, and asthma prevalence in a cross-sectional study of 1788 children from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. Geometric mean blood lead, serum IgE, and percent eosinophils were 1.13 μg/dL (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.22), 46.3 kU/L (95% CI: 40.3, 53.1), and 2.82 percent (95% CI 2.67, 2.98), respectively. Prevalence of asthma, atopic asthma, and atopy were 11.8% (95% CI: 9.5, 14.2), 8.1% (6.2, 9.9), and 44.4% (40.1, 48.7), respectively. Regression models controlled for season, age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, passive smoke exposure, and body mass index. Based on these models, there was an 11.1% (95% CI: 5.6, 16.9) increase in IgE and a 4.9% (95% CI: 2.3, 7.6) increase in eosinophils per 1 μg/dL increase in blood lead. In independent stratified analyses, lead was found to increase IgE and eosinophils among non-Hispanic whites, but not other children; and stronger associations were observed among children who lived with a smoker vs. not. Lead was not associated with asthma, atopic asthma, or general atopy. This study provides additional evidence of a cross-sectional association between lead with IgE and new evidence for eosinophils. This may be a mechanism for development of downstream allergic disease. The mechanisms that determine ultimate development of allergic disease are currently unknown, but are the focus of ongoing studies.

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Accession: 056461837

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23726529

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.04.010

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