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Systemic effects of occupational exposure to arsenic: with special reference to peripheral circulation and nerve function
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Clinical Physiology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Environmental Medicine.
1989 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Smelter workers who were exposed to air-borne arsenic for a mean of 23 years, and age-matched referents, were examined with clinical, physiological, and neurophysiological methods. Exposure to arsenic in workroom air was estimated to have been around the Swedish occupational limits, which were 500 yg/m before 1975 and 50 yg/ra thereafter. An increased preval ence of Raynaud's phenomenon and a reduced finger systolic blood pressure (FSP) during local and general cooling were found in the smelter workers. Slight, but significant sub-clinical neuropathy, in the form of slightly reduced nerve conduction velocity (NCV) in two or more peripheral nerves, was more common among the arsenic workers than among the referents. There were positive correlations between cumulative exposure to arsenic, reduced NCV in three peripheral motor nerves, and decrease in FSP during cooling. Arsenic levels in urine were 1 ymole/1 (75 yg/1) in the arsenic workers and 0.1 ymole/1 in the referents. In 21 arsenic workers with no or very low exposure to vibra ting hand tools, the FSP during cooling had increased significantly after 3 years wit h the lower arsenic exposure. There was no change in FSP during the summer vacation, whereas urinary levels of arsenic decreased to normal values. Thus there seems to be a slow improvement of finger blood circ ulation which is independent of short-term fluctuations in the exposure to arsenic. No seasonal variation was found in FSP during cooling with the standardized method used. When the NCV-measurements were repeated five years later the difference between arsenic workers and referents had increased, despite the fact that 14 of the 47 arsenic workers had had no exposure to arsenic during the last 1-5 years. These observations indicate, that in subjects with long term exposure to arsenic, sub-clinical neuropathy is not reversible. Ten milligrams of Ketanserin, a serotonin receptor antagonist, was given intravenously to five arsenic workers with cold-induced vasospasm. Skin temperature and FSP during cooling increased significantly with Ketanserin as compared wit h saline solution. After oral treatment, 2 x 40 mg /day for four weeks, no significant increase of FSP during cooling or rise in skin temperature was found in six arsenic workers and eleven patients with Raynaud's phenomenon. The decrease of vasospastic tendency after intravenous injection of Ketanserin indicated that similar mechanisms might operate in arsenic-induced and other types of Raynaud's phenomenon. A general co nclusion from the five studies in this dissertation is that long-term occupational exposure to arsenic has had adverse effects on the peripheral circulation and nerve conduction. The tendency to vasospasm, but not the sub-clinical neuropathy, seemed to be reversible with decreasing exposure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1989. , 54 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 247
Keyword [en]
Arsenic toxicity, Cold-induced vasospasm, Finger systolic pressure, Nerve conduction velocity, Occupational exposure, Raynaud's phenomenon, Serotonin antagonist
National Category
Other Clinical Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101288ISBN: 91-7174-413-4OAI: diva2:798900
Public defence
1989-05-19, Sal 916, byggnad 3A, Regionsjukhuset i Umeå, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00

S. 1-54: sammanfattning, s. 55-112: 5 uppsatser

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