The effect of lead (Pb) ingestion on hematological parameters in male and female Swiss mice was assessed. Eight different doses of Pb were administered through preparation of different feeds. The levels of Pb in the diet were designed to provide exposure below (0.6 to 2.0-13 μg/dl) normal background. One litter of mice was exposed to each Pb dose, with the mother given the feed 1 day after mating, and the mother and offspring continuing to receive the feed until the litter was 90 days old. Male and female mice receiving below normal background levels of dietary Pb displayed enhanced red blood cell (RBC) production as measured by increased numbers of RBC and increased hemoglobin and hematocrit values. However, as the blood Pb levels approached 10 μg/dl there was a marked decrease in RBC production. These findings are significant since Pb was biologically active in a stimulating manner below typical background levels (2.0 μg/dl) while adversely effecting red cell synthesis at above background levels (7.0-13 μg/dl) encountered in the environment by humans. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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