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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 742545, 9 pages
Research Article

Environmental Lead Exposure Accelerates Progressive Diabetic Nephropathy in Type II Diabetic Patients

Department of Nephrology and Division of Clinical Toxicology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou Medical Center, Chang Gung University and School of Medicine, 199 Tung-Hwa North Road, Taipei 10548, Taiwan

Received 12 November 2012; Accepted 24 January 2013

Academic Editor: Cheng-An J. Lin

Copyright © 2013 Wen-Hung Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Whether environmental lead exposure has a long-term effect on progressive diabetic nephropathy in type II diabetic patients remains unclear. A total of 107 type II diabetic patients with stage 3 diabetic nephropathy (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) range, 30–60 mL/min/1.73 m2) with normal body lead burden (BLB) (<600 μg/72 hr in EDTA mobilization tests) and no history of exposure to lead were prospectively followed for 2 years. Patients were divided into high-normal BLB (>80 μg) and low-normal BLB (<80 μg) groups. The primary outcome was a 2-fold increase in the initial creatinine levels, long-term dialysis, or death. The secondary outcome was a change in eGFR over time. Forty-five patients reached the primary outcome within 2 years. Although there were no differences in baseline data and renal function, progressive nephropathy was slower in the low-normal BLB group than that in the high-normal BLB group. During the study period, we demonstrated that each 100 μg increment in BLB and each 10 μg increment in blood lead levels could decrease GFR by 2.2 mL/min/1.72 m2 and 3.0 mL/min/1.72 m2 ( ), respectively, as estimated by generalized equations. Moreover, BLB was associated with increased risk of achieving primary outcome. Environmental exposure to lead may have a long-term effect on progressive diabetic nephropathy in type II diabetic patients.