The Effects of Chronic Low-level Lead Exposure on the Early Structuring of the Central Nervous System

  • C. M. Regan
  • G. R. Cookman
  • G. J. Keane
  • W. King
  • S. E. Hemmens


Chronic low-level lead exposure has been demonstrated to inhibit neural cell acquisition and impair early postnatal structuring of the central nervous system. Lead was demonstrated to have an anti-mitotic action both in vitro and in vivo, although the latter was confined to the cerebellum at blood lead threshold values of 30–40 µg/dl. Low-level lead exposure more potently affected in vivo cell positioning and fibre outgrowth, as judged by the impaired developmental desialylation of the D2-CAM/N-CAM protein, and these effects were seen at blood lead threshold values of 20–30 µg/dl. This inhibition of normal D2-CAM/N-CAM desialylation is attributed to improper guidance of neuronal cells and their fibres, as lead is demonstrated to specifically induce precocious differentiation of the glial cells.


Glutamine Synthetase Lead Exposure Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule Blood Lead Level Glutamine Synthetase Activity 
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Copyright information

© ECSC-EEC-EAEC, Brussels — Luxembourg; EPA, USA 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Regan
  • G. R. Cookman
  • G. J. Keane
  • W. King
  • S. E. Hemmens

There are no affiliations available

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