Lead and calcium content in the human hip joint

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec;144(1-3):6-16. doi: 10.1007/s12011-011-9014-0. Epub 2011 Mar 10.


Concentration of lead in bone, unlike in soft tissues, increases during the lifetime and reflects severity of exposure to this element. The main aim of the study was to determine concentrations of lead and calcium and to find possible relationship between calcium and lead in the tissues of the hip joints obtained from inhabitants of the Upper Silesian Industrial Area. We also attempted to identify factors that might affect this relationship. The samples were harvested intraoperatively during total hip replacement procedures; in most cases, the indication for the surgery was hip osteoarthritis. Concentrations of lead and calcium were measured with a Pye Unicam SP-9 acetylene-oxygen flame atomic absorption spectrometer. The highest mean concentration of lead was found in the cancellous bone from the femoral head, followed by articular cartilage, cortical bone and the intertrochanteric cancellous bone (0.75 μg/g). The smallest concentration was found in the joint capsule (0.19 μg/g). The highest mean concentration of calcium was found in cancellous bone from the femoral head, followed by cancellous bone from the intertrochanteric area, cortical bone, articular cartilage and joint capsule. The concentration of lead showed no correlation with sex. The bone concentration of calcium decreased with age. In the analysed hips, this finding was true in the cortical bone, as well as in the cancellous bone of the intertrochanteric area. Statistically significant correlation between calcium and lead was found only in the hip articular cartilage.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Calcium / analysis*
  • Cartilage, Articular / chemistry
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Femur Head / chemistry
  • Hip Joint / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Joint Capsule / chemistry
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Male
  • Metallurgy
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic


  • Particulate Matter
  • Lead
  • Calcium