Association of Lead Exposure, Serum Uric Acid and Parameters of Renal Function in Nigerian Lead-Exposed Workers

DD Alasia, PC Emem-Chioma, FS Wokoma


Background: The presence of hyperuricemia and renal function impairment, especially in the absence of urate stone formation is strongly suggestive of lead nephropathy. The evaluation of this association is essential in areas where lead exposure is still prevalent and uncontrolled.

Objective: To determine the relationship between serum uric acid and renal function indices in lead-exposed workers.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 190 adults with occupational lead exposure and 80 adults (comparison group), matched for age and sex was performed in Port Harcourt, South-south Nigeria. Blood lead was used as the biomarker of lead exposure while serum urea, serum creatinine, urine albumin (using urine albumin:creatinine ratio), estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and serum uric acid were the renal function indices measured.

Results: Occupationally lead-exposed subjects had a significantly (p = 0.008) higher mean±SD blood lead levels (50.37±24.58 μg/dL) than the comparison group (41.40±26.85). The mean±SD serum urea (8.6±2.3 mg/dL), creatinine (1.0±0.2 mg/dL) and serum uric acid (4.6±1.2 mg/dL) were significantly (p < 0.01) higher in the study subjects than the comparison group (7.6±2.4, 0.9±0.2, and 3.9±1.1 mg/dL, respectively). The mean±SD creatinine clearance was significantly (p = 0.002) lower in the study subjects than the comparison group (98.9±21.3 vs. 108.2±25.2 mL/min/1.72 m2). Serum uric acid level correlated positively with serum creatinine (r = 0.134) and negatively with GFR (r = ‑0.151).

Conclusion: People with occupational lead exposure are at risk of developing hyperuricemia and renal impairment.


Lead poisoning; Hyperuricemia; Kidney disease; Kidney failure; Uric acid; Occupational exposure

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 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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