Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2013, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 178-188.doi: 10.1016/S1001-9294(13)60045-0

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Neurotoxicity and Biomarkers of Lead Exposure: a Review

Kang-sheng Liu1, Jia-hu Hao2, Yu Zeng3, Fan-chun Dai4, Ping-qing Gu5, *   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Clinical Laboratory, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China;
    2 Department of Maternity and Child Health Care, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China;
    3 Child Health Care Department, 4 Obstetrical Department, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210004, China
    5 Department of Epidemiological and Health Statistics, School of Public Health of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China
  • Received:2012-07-16 Published:2013-09-30 Online:2013-09-30
  • Contact: *Corresponding author Tel: 86-25-52226777,

Appropriate selection and measurement of lead biomarkers of exposure are critically important for health care management purposes, public health decision making, and primary prevention synthesis. Lead is one of the neurotoxicants that seems to be involved in the etiology of psychologies. Biomarkers are generally classified into three groups: biomarkers of exposure, effect, and susceptibility.The main body compartments that store lead are the blood, soft tissues, and bone; the half-life of lead in these tissues is measured in weeks for blood, months for soft tissues, and years for bone. Within the brain, lead-induced damage in the prefrontal cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum can lead to a variety of neurological disorders, such as brain damage, mental retardation, behavioral problems, nerve damage, and possibly Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsons disease, and schizophrenia. This paper presents an overview of biomarkers of lead exposure and discusses the neurotoxic effects of lead with regard to children and adults.

Key words: lead poisoning, biological monitoring, neurotoxicity, neurodevelopment

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