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Inverse association of intellectual function with very low blood lead but not with manganese exposure in Italian adolescents

  • Roberto G. Lucchini
  • Silvia Zoni
  • Stefano Guazzetti
  • Elza Bontempi
  • Serena Micheletti
  • Karin Broberg Palmgren
  • Giovanni Parrinello
  • Donald R. Smith
Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 65-71
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Environmental Research
Volym: 118
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


Background: Pediatric lead (Pb) exposure impacts cognitive function and behavior and co-exposure to manganese (Mn) may enhance neurotoxicity. Objectives: To assess cognitive and behavioral function in adolescents with environmental exposure to Pb and Mn. Methods: In this cross sectional study, cognitive function and behavior were examined in healthy adolescents with environmental exposure to metals. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the Conners-Wells' Adolescent Self-Report Scale Long Form (CASS:L) were used to assess cognitive and behavioral function, respectively. ALAD polymorphisms rs1800435 and rs1139488 were measured as potential modifiers. Results: We examined 299 adolescents (49.2% females) aged 11-14 years. Blood lead (BPb) averaged 1.71 mu g/dL (median 1.5, range 0.44-10.2), mean Blood Manganese (BMn) was 11.1 mu g/dL (median 10.9, range 4.00-24.1). Average total IQ was 106.3 (verbal IQ= 102, performance IQ= 109.3). According to a multiple regression model considering the effect of other covariates, a reduction of about 2.4 IQ points resulted from a two-fold increase of BPb. The Benchmark Level of BPb associated with a loss of 1 IQ-point (BML01) was 0.19 mu g/dL, with a lower 95% confidence limit (BMLL01) of 0.11 mu g/dL. A very weak correlation resulted between BPb and the ADHD-like behavior (Kendall's tau rank correlation=0.074, p=0.07). No influence of ALAD genotype was observed on any outcome. Manganese was not associated with cognitive and behavioral outcomes, nor was there any interaction with lead. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that very low level of lead exposure has a significant negative impact on cognitive function in adolescent children. Being an essential micro-nutrient, manganese may not cause cognitive effects at these low exposure levels. (c) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Cognitive functions
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Children


  • ISSN: 1096-0953

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