Background/aim: Lead can cause morphological and functional changes in heart, and inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in vasculature. Endocan, as a novel indicator of endothelial dysfunction, has been used for cardiovascular diseases. This study investigated the relationship between lead exposure, endocan levels, and diastolic functions.
Materials and methods: A total of 51 lead-exposed workers without a known cardiovascular disease or risk factors and 54 healthy controls were enrolled. All participants underwent transthoracic echocardiography. Blood lead and serum endocan levels were analyzed.
Results: Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were found to be similar between groups. Median blood lead (32 vs 1.5 μg/dL, P < 0.001) and serum endocan levels (67 vs 57.1 pg/mL, P = 0.02) were significantly higher in the lead-exposed group. Serum endocan level showed a positive correlation with blood lead levels (r = 0.404, P = 0.003) in lead-exposed workers. Serum endocan level was an independent risk factor for increased E/E’ ratio (β = 0.704, P = 0.002) and left atrial volume index (β = 1.158, P = 0.011) and higher level of lead in blood was an independent risk factor for increased E wave (β = 8.004, P = 0.022) in lead-exposed workers.
Conclusion: Worsened diastolic functions may be seen in the course of lead exposure. Due to sharing a similar mechanism, a higher serum level of endocan may be a valuable laboratory clue for impaired diastolic function in this population.