Immunoglobulin Levels in Workers Exposed to Inorganic Mercury

M. L.S. Queiroz, R. C.R. Perlingeiro, D. C.M. Dantas, J. M.Annichino Bizzacchi, E. M. De Capitani

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The serum immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM and IgA) concentrations of 44 mercury‐exposed workers were examined and compared with those of non‐exposed, age‐ and sex‐matched individuals. At the time of testing, the exposed population had a mean (+ S.D.) mercury urinary concentration of 24.7+ 19.1 and in 40 of them urinary mercury levels were below the currently accepted limit of 50 μg/g creatinine. Increased IgG, IgA and IgM levels were found in the mercury‐exposed individuals and in 16, a second evaluation was performed six months later. During the intervening six months, the level of hygiene was improved throughout the plant, and urinary mercury concentrations were determined monthly in each worker. Despite a significant reduction in mercury urinary concentrations, serum immunoglobulin levels did not return to the normal range. There was no correlation between the length or level of exposure and the immunoglobulin levels. Liver protein synthesis, as studied by factor V, prothrombin time, prealbumin and transaminase activity, was normal and liver injury, as evaluated by serum aspartate and alanine aminotransferase activities (AST and ALT, respectively), was not observed. No haemotological abnormalities were noted. These results indicate that “safe” levels of mercury exposure may lead to humoral immunological stimulation. 1994 Nordic Pharmacological Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-75
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacology & Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994


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