Elevated inflammatory Lp-PLA2 and IL-6 link e-waste Pb toxicity to cardiovascular risk factors in preschool children

Environ Pollut. 2018 Mar;234:601-609. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.094. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Cardiovascular toxicity of lead (Pb) manifests primarily as an effect on blood pressure and eventual increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events. Therefore, we investigated vascular inflammatory biomarkers and cardiovascular effects of Pb-exposed children. A total of 590 children (3-7 years old) were recruited from Guiyu (n = 337), an electronic waste (e-waste)-exposed group, and Haojiang (n = 253), a reference group, from November to December 2016. We measured child blood Pb levels (BPbs), and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Pulse pressure was calculated for the latter two. Serum biomarkers including lipid profiles and inflammatory cytokines, and plasma lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) were detected. Unadjusted regression analysis illustrated that higher ln-transformed BPb associated with lower systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. After adjustment for various confounders, the relational degree of lnBPb and blood pressure measures became slightly attenuated or not significant. Elevated BPb was associated with higher Lp-PLA2, interleukin (IL)-6, triglycerides (TG) and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Lp-PLA2 remained inversely associated with pulse pressure and HDL, but positively with ratios of total cholesterol to HDL (Tc/HDL) and low-density lipoprotein to HDL (LDL/HDL). IL-6 was associated negatively with systolic blood pressure, pulse pressure and HDL, and positively associated with TG, Tc/HDL and LDL/HDL. The mediation effect of biomarkers on the association of BPb with pulse pressure was insignificant except for Lp-PLA2. Available data supports the conclusion that e-waste-exposed children with higher BPbs and concomitant abnormal measures of cardiovascular physiology have an augmented prevalence of vascular inflammation, as well as lipid disorder.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk; Child; E-waste; Lp-PLA2; Pb; Vascular inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Electronic Waste* / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead / toxicity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lead
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase
  • PLA2G7 protein, human