Serum prolactin in subjects occupationally exposed to manganese

Antonio Mutti, Enrico Bergamaschi, Rossella Alinovi, Roberto Lucchini, Maria Vittoria Vettori, Innocente Franchini

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37 Scopus citations


To evaluate whether or not occupational exposure to manganese (Mn) affects basal levels of serum prolactin (PRL), a cross-sectional study was carried out in 31 occupationally-exposed workers, aged 39.2 years (DS 7.9) exposed to manganese (Mn) dusts for 14.5 years (range: 5 to 29 years) in a ferroalloy producing plant. Thirty-four industrial workers not exposed to neurotoxic chemicals and of comparable age composed the control group. Airborne Mn concentrations in dusts of the furnace area ranged 210 to 980 μg/m3, which is below the current American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)-recommended threshold limit value-time weighted average (TLV-TWA) of 1 mg/m3. Manganese concentrations in blood Mn (MnB) and in urine (MnU) were significantly higher in Mn-exposed workers as compared to control workers. The Mn-exposed workers showed significantly higher serum prolactin (PRL) levels with the geometric mean (GM) being 9.77 ng/ml with a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 1.69 as compared to controls (GM 4.65 ng/ml, GSD 1.78, p < 0.001). Serum PRL was negatively related to age and positively correlated with both MnB and MnU. Dose-effect relationships were still significant in partial correlation analysis after control for age. The prevalence of abnormally high PRL values was consistent with a dose-response relationship. The observed increase in serum PRL among Mn-exposed workers suggests an impairment of tonic inhibition by tubero-infundibular dopaminergic neurons. The correlation between PRL and both MnB and MnU in samples collected at least 48 h from the last exposure suggests that such indices provide an estimation of the target dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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