Serum IgE elevation correlates with blood lead levels in battery manufacturing workers

Y. Heo, B. K. Lee, K. D. Ahn, David A. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Lead (Pb), an occupational and environmental toxicant, is known to induce immunomodulatory effects resulting in lowered resistance to infectious micro-organisms and altered levels of immunoglobulins in humans. Preferential activation of type-2 helper T cells and inhibition of type-1 T-cell activation is considered a cellular mechanism for the Pb-induced immune alteration, which has not been investigated well in humans. Lead's influence on in vivo balance between type-1 and type-2 activities was assessed among workers exposed to Pb through battery manufacturing in Korea. Serum IgE levels were significantly higher in the workers with a blood Pb level (PbB) of ≥ 30 μg/dL than in the workers with a PbB of < 30 μg/dL. Furthermore, the serum IgE concentrations significantly correlated with PbB although no significant relationship between PbB and serum interleukin-4 or interferon gamma levels was observed. The present study indicates that elevation of IgE levels may be an immunologic index for Pb-induced in vivo toxicities, potentially involved with progression of various allergic diseases in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalHuman and Experimental Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Battery workers
  • Cytokine
  • IgE
  • Serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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