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Physiology pp 379-400 | Cite as

Lead and Cadmium Effect on Host Defense Mechanisms and Toxic Interactions with Bacterial Endotoxin

  • James A. Cook
  • W. C. Wise
  • W. J. Dougherty
  • P. V. Halushka

Abstract

There is growing concern over the presence of significant quantities of non-biodegradable pollutants, such as lead and cadmium, in the environment (Wessel and Dominski, 1977; Goyer and Rhyne, 1973; Webb, 1979). Widespread environmental contamination with lead and cadmium occurs from many sources ranging from industrial or automobile emissions (Haley, 1968; Beliles, 1975; Cox, 1974) to consumable items and appliances in the home (Chisolm, 1973; Cox, 1974). Understanding of the interaction of these toxic trace metals with biologic systems is thus becoming increasingly important. Such interactions may result from accidental overt intoxication or potential toxic effects of subclinical body burdens of these heavy metals manifested in the presence of costressors. The impact on host defense mechanisms is an important variable in toxicity assessment of these environmental contaminants. Selye et al. (1966) reported that a single injection of lead acetate increased the sensitivity of rats to various endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria by approximately 100,000-fold. This initial observation of an extreme toxic synergism between lead and endotoxin has inspired a number of studies of environmental significance as well as an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of endotoxic shock. This chapter reviews some toxicologic effects of lead and cadmium on phagocyte function and host resistance to infection and examines potential mechanisms by which these heavy metals render animals hypersensitive to bacterial endotoxin.

Keywords

Alveolar Macrophage Lead Acetate Cadmium Chloride Bacterial Endotoxin Endotoxic Shock 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Cook
    • 1
  • W. C. Wise
    • 1
  • W. J. Dougherty
    • 2
  • P. V. Halushka
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Pharmacology and MedicineMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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