Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser.

This website may not display properly with Internet Explorer. For the best experience, please use a more recent browser such as the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and/or Mozilla Firefox. Thank you.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Harvard School of Public Health

Superfund Research Program

Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Lead Intoxication

Project Leader: Karl T. Kelsey
Grant Number: P42ES005947
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

Learn More About the Grantee

Visit the grantee's eNewsletter page Visit the grantee's Twitter page

Project Summary (1995-2000)

This project's research aim is to identify and validate biomarkers that may improve the effectiveness of screening and clinical treatment efforts for lead poisoning. A common genetic polymorphism in aminolevulinate dehydratase (ALAD) has been associated with elevated blood-lead levels in children and adults. This may be due to a greater affinity of the variant ALAD-2 enzyme for lead binding. It is hypothesized that ALAD genotype will provide a useful biomarker of the effectiveness of chelation therapy used in the treatment of lead poisoning. It is also hypothesized that the ALAD-2 enzyme will be protective of lead toxicity by sequestering lead from sensitive sites of neurotoxic action. Additional work includes the ongoing examination of the possible association of the ALAD gene variant and maternal and offspring blood lead levels. These issues are being studied in a population in Korea. Environmental exposure to lead is higher in Korea than in the United States, thus the study can be done with fewer subjects. Also, collaboration with an ongoing study has enabled rapid start-up and efficient collection of data.

Back
to Top