Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Commonly Used Therapy For Lead Poisoning Might Alter The Immune System, Cornell Animal Study Indicates

Date:
February 24, 1999
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
A commonly used drug for reducing toxicological effects of lead poisoning might alter immune function, a Cornell University study of pregnant rats and their offspring has found.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A commonly used drug for reducing toxicological effects of lead poisoning might alter immune function, a Cornell University study of pregnant rats and their offspring has found.

Related Articles


The drug is Meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), also known as succimer. DMSA is currently the only approved medication in the United States for children with high levels of lead.

Reporting in the current issue of the journal Toxicology (Vol. 132, No. 1, pages 67-79), the researchers say it is not known if the so-called chelation therapy has the same side effects in humans as was observed in rats. "Our study and previous studies prove that DMSA can do what it's supposed to. It chemically binds with lead in the recipient and gets that poison out of the body," says Rodney R. Dietert, the Cornell professor of immunotoxicology who led the study.

"We knew that lead harms the immune systems of rats, humans and other animals, but no one had ever looked at DMSA's effects on the fetal immune system. This study provides the first evidence suggesting that DMSA chelation therapy could have problematic side effects for the developing immune system."

One cause for the immune system impairment, Dietert said, could be DMSA's effect on the availability of essential minerals in the pregnant rats and fetuses. A candidate mineral could be zinc, which is crucial for both development and maintenance of the immune system.

"This raises the question of whether supplementation (with zinc or other minerals) during DMSA treatment might protect against DMSA-induced immune alteration," the Cornell researchers wrote in their Toxicology report. "The identification of effective strategies to minimize DMSA-induced immunomodulation requires further study."

The Cornell study, conducted through the university's Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology and College of Veterinary Medicine, examined the effects of DMSA on pregnant rats, nursing rats and their offspring through 3 months of age. Fischer 344 rats were chosen because their immune systems are well characterized and they have served as the preferred models to identify cancer-causing chemicals.

DMSA was found effective in reducing the amount of lead reaching the rat embryos (through the placenta) and in young, nursing rats (through mother's milk). The chelation therapy for rats also reversed several harmful effects of lead exposure, such as altered body weight and spleen weight in rat pups and increased levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interlukin-4

(IL-4). Elevated levels of TNF and IL-4 are generally regarded as signs of a malfunctioning immune system.

But the offspring whose mothers had received chelation treatment during pregnancy displayed other persistent impairments to their immune systems -- including suppressed delayed-type hypersensitivity and increased interlukin-2 levels -- that, as adults, could leave them susceptible to infections or tumors.

Further study, the report said, might help explain some of the immunotoxicological effects of lead. In some cases, lead exposure enhances certain immune responses, such as those associated with allergies and asthma.

"We still have a lot to learn," Dietert says. "Certainly we are not suggesting that a life-saving treatment like DMSA be abandoned. But a more complete understanding of all the factors involved should make this DMSA more beneficial for recipients of this treatment."

Funding support was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Joining Dietert in the Toxicology report were Suping Chen, a Cornell graduate student; Karen A. Golmemboski, a postdoctoral associate at the time of the study; and Forrest S. Sanders, a laboratory technician.

Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

Lead poisoning info: http://emedicine.com/EMERG/topic293.htm

Related story: http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicles/7.9.98/lead.html

Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine:

Inst. for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology: http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/icet/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Commonly Used Therapy For Lead Poisoning Might Alter The Immune System, Cornell Animal Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990224072658.htm>.
Cornell University. (1999, February 24). Commonly Used Therapy For Lead Poisoning Might Alter The Immune System, Cornell Animal Study Indicates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990224072658.htm
Cornell University. "Commonly Used Therapy For Lead Poisoning Might Alter The Immune System, Cornell Animal Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990224072658.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feeling Young Might Mean A Longer Life Span

Feeling Young Might Mean A Longer Life Span

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A study published in JAMA shows that people who feel younger than their chronological age might actually live longer than those who feel old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins