Blood Lead Levels and Serum Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Concentrations in Peripubertal Boys
Fleisch, Abby F.
Burns, Jane S.
Lee, Mary M.
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CitationFleisch, Abby F., Jane S. Burns, Paige L. Williams, Mary M. Lee, Oleg Sergeyev, Susan A. Korrick, and Russ Hauser. 2013. “Blood Lead Levels and Serum Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Concentrations in Peripubertal Boys.” Environmental Health Perspectives 121 (7): 854-858. doi:10.1289/ehp.1206105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1206105.
AbstractBackground: Childhood lead exposure has been associated with growth delay. However, the association between blood lead levels (BLLs) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has not been characterized in a large cohort with low-level lead exposure. Methods: We recruited 394 boys 8–9 years of age from an industrial Russian town in 2003–2005 and followed them annually thereafter. We used linear regression models to estimate the association of baseline BLLs with serum IGF-1 concentration at two follow-up visits (ages 10–11 and 12–13 years), adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic covariates. Results: At study entry, median BLL was 3 μg/dL (range, < 0.5–31 μg/dL), most boys (86%) were prepubertal, and mean ± SD height and BMI z-scores were 0.14 ± 1.0 and –0.2 ± 1.3, respectively. After adjustment for covariates, the mean follow-up IGF-1 concentration was 29.2 ng/mL lower (95% CI: –43.8, –14.5) for boys with high versus low BLL (≥ 5 μg/dL or < 5 μg/dL); this difference persisted after further adjustment for pubertal status. The association of BLL with IGF-1 was stronger for mid-pubertal than prepubertal boys (p = 0.04). Relative to boys with BLLs < 2 μg/dL, adjusted mean IGF-1 concentrations decreased by 12.8 ng/mL (95% CI: –29.9, 4.4) for boys with BLLs of 3–4 μg/dL; 34.5 ng/mL (95% CI: –53.1, –16.0) for BLLs 5–9 μg/dL; and 60.4 ng/mL (95% CI: –90.9, –29.9) for BLLs ≥ 10 μg/dL. Conclusions: In peripubertal boys with low-level lead exposure, higher BLLs were associated with lower serum IGF-1. Inhibition of the hypothalamic–pituitary–growth axis may be one possible pathway by which lead exposure leads to growth delay.
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