Lead, known for its negative effects on human health, has been shown to induce oxidative stress. Kasperczyk et al. grouped 283 healthy male lead and zinc miners in a low-exposure group (n = 129) and a high-exposure group (n = 154) based on their blood levels of lead and zinc. These groups were compared to a control group of 73 healthy male administrative workers. Whole blood viscosity was significantly increased in the exposure groups when compared with controls. This increase in blood viscosity was likely due to lead-induced oxidative stress and subsequent damage to red blood cell membranes, as measured by levels of malondialdehyde and lipofuscin. These measures of oxidative stress caused increased red blood cell aggregability and decreased deformability in the exposure groups. Ultimately, the study showed a dose-related effect of lead and zinc exposure to impaired blood flow parameters, suggesting the clinical utility of blood viscosity as a marker for lead toxicity and oxidative stress.
Kasperczyk A, Słowińska-łożyńska L, Dobrakowski M, Zalejska-Fiolka J, Kasperczyk S. The effect of lead-induced oxidative stress on blood viscosity and rheological properties of erythrocytes in lead exposed humans. Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation. 2013.