Health effects of depleted uranium on exposed Gulf War veterans: A 10-year follow-up

Melissa A. McDiarmid, Susan Engelhardt, Marc Oliver, Patricia Gucer, P. David Wilson, Robert Kane, Michael Kabat, Bruce Kaup, Larry Anderson, Dennis Hoover, Lawrence Brown, Barry Handwerger, Richard J. Albertini, David Jacobson-Kram, Craig D. Thorne, Katherine S. Squibb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Medical surveillance of a group of U.S. Gulf War veterans who were victims of depleted uranium (DU) "friendly fire" has been carried out since the early 1990s. Findings to date reveal a persistent elevation of urine uranium, more than 10 yr after exposure, in those veterans with retained shrapnel fragments. The excretion is presumably from ongoing mobilization of DU from fragments oxidizing in situ. Other clinical outcomes related to urine uranium measures have revealed few abnormalities. Renal function is normal despite the kidney's expected involvement as the "critical" target organ of uranium toxicity. Subtle perturbations in some proximal tubular parameters may suggest early although not clinically significant effects of uranium exposure. A mixed picture of genotoxic outcomes is also observed, including an association of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT) mutation frequency with high urine uranium levels. Findings observed in this chronically exposed cohort offer guidance for predicting future health effects in other potentially exposed populations and provide helpful data for hazard communication for future deployed personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-296
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 27 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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