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Allergic disease, immunoglobulins, exposure to mercury and dental amalgam in Swedish adolescents

  • P. Herrström
  • Benkt Högstedt
  • Nicolas Holthuis
  • Andrejs Schütz
  • Lennart Ra˚stam
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

 High-dose exposure to inorganic mercury in man can influence the immune system and in rare cases cause immune-related disease. Some experimental animals also react with autoimmunity after low doses of inorganic mercury. Glomerulonephritis and an increased formation of immunoglobulin type E (IgE) are characteristic of these reactions. A recent study of 15-year-old adolescents demonstrated an association between immunoglobulin type A (IgA) and mercury concentration in plasma (P-Hg). There was also an association between allergic disease and IgA levels. The present study included 54 male and 23 female 19-year-old students who were recruited from a cohort that had been previously defined in a survey of allergic disease. Of the students, 39 (51%) had asthma, allergic rhino-conjunctivitis or eczema. Similar amalgam burden and P-Hg levels were observed in students with (n=39) and without (n=38) allergic disease (P=0.48 and P=0.98, respectively). As expected, IgE levels were significantly higher in the group with allergic disease (P=0.006), but there was no association between P-Hg and IgE. The P-Hg levels were very low (median 1.50 nmol/l) and correlated significantly (r=0.31) with the small number of amalgam surfaces (P=0.007). Thirty-seven students had no amalgam fillings. P-Hg levels did not associate significantly with IgA, but did so with IgG2 (r=0.33; P=0.003). No conclusive correlation was observed between IgG2 and amalgam fillings. The findings of this study in 19-year-old subjects differ from earlier data obtained in a sample 4 years younger. The possibility of chance in the association between P-Hg levels and IgG2 must, however, be considered.

Key words Adolescents Allergy Dental amalgam Immunoglobulin Mercury 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Herrström
    • 1
  • Benkt Högstedt
    • 2
  • Nicolas Holthuis
    • 3
  • Andrejs Schütz
    • 4
  • Lennart Ra˚stam
    • 5
  1. 1.Primary Care Center Hertig Knut, Bryggaregatan 1, S-302 43 Halmstad, Sweden. FAX: + +46 35 134375SE
  2. 2.Department of Occupational Medicine, Central Hospital, Halmstad, SwedenSE
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Chemistry, Central Hospital, Halmstad, SwedenSE
  4. 4.Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Lund, SwedenSE
  5. 5.Department of Community Medicine, University of Lund, Malmö, SwedenSE

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