Bone stores of lead accrued from environmental exposures and found in most of the general population have recently been linked to the development of hypertension, cognitive decrements, and adverse reproductive outcomes. The skeleton is the major endogenous source of lead in circulating blood, particularly under conditions of accelerated bone turnover and mineral loss, such as during pregnancy and in postmenopausal osteoporosis. We studied the influence of bone resorption rate on the release of lead from bone in 333 men, predominantly white, middle-aged and elderly (mostly retired) from the Boston area. We evaluated bone resorption by measuring cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx) in 24-hr urine samples with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used K-X-ray fluorescence to measure lead content in cortical (tibia) and trabecular (patella) bone; we used graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy to measure lead in blood and urine, respectively. After adjustment for age and creatinine clearance, the positive relation of patella lead to urinary lead was stronger among subjects in the upper two NTx tertiles (β for patella lead ≥ 0.015) than in the lowest NTx tertile (β for patella lead = 0.008; overall p-value for interactions = 0.06). In contrast, we found no statistically significant influence of NTx tertile on the relationship of blood lead to urinary lead. As expected, the magnitude of the relationship of bone lead to urinary lead diminished after adjustment for blood lead. Nevertheless, the pattern of the relationships of bone lead to urinary lead across NTx tertiles remained unchanged. Furthermore, after adjustment for age, the relation of patella lead to blood lead was significantly stronger in the upper two NTx tertiles (β for patella lead ≥ 0.125) than in the lowest NTx tertile (β for patella lead = 0.072). The results provide evidence that bone resorption influences the release of bone lead stores (particularly patella lead) into the circulation.
- Environmental exposure
- K-X-ray fluorescence