Urinary protein excretion profile: A contribution for subclinical renal damage identification among environmental heavy metals exposure in Southeast Brazil

C. R. Garlipp, P. V. Bottini, E. M. De Capitani, M. C. Pinho, A. D.N. Panzan, A. M.A. Sakuma, M. B. Paoliello

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In Southeast Brazil. Ribeira Valley region has been a major public health concern due to the environmental heavy metals contamination indexes of vegetation, rocks and aquifers, caused by local mining in the past. Human contamination by low levels of heavy metals doesn't cause acute intoxication but in chronic exposure, renal damage may occur with progressive tubulointerstitial changes evolving to glomerular lesion. In this study we investigated the relationship between the profile of urinary excreted proteins (glomerular or tubular origin) of arsenic and mercury and blood lead concentration in children and adults from highly exposed regions of the Ribeira Valley. The subjects were classified as GROUP 1 (G1; higher environmental risk, n=333) and GROUP 2 (G2; lower risk of contamination, n=104). In order to determine the urinary excretion of total protein, albumin (MA, glomerular marker) and alpha I microglobulin (A1M, tubular marker) and the blood lead concentrations, random urine and blood samples were obtained. Plasmatic lead levels were assessed by atomic absorption spectrometry with graphite furnace. Total protein concentration (PROT) was assessed on a biochemical analyzer (pyrogallol red method). MA and A1M were determined by nephelometric method. Group 1 showed a higher frequency of altered urinary excretion of PROT (G1=3.4%; G2=1.0%), MA (G1=9.0%; G2=5.1%) and A1M (G1=7.5%; G2=3.8%), without significant differences between both groups. Elevated arsenic levels were more prevalent among subjects from Group 1 (28.8%) and demonstrated a significant correlation with abnormal urinary excretion of albumin and alpha-1-microglobulin (p=0.019). Lead and mercury levels showed no difference among the groups and no correlation with MA and/or A1M. Our data suggests that abnormal urinary protein excretion is relatively frequent in this population independently of the plasmatic or urinary heavy metal levels. The early detection of possible renal damage become necessary for effective measures can be taken to prevent clinical nephropathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-516
Number of pages4
JournalJournal De Physique. IV : JP
Issue numberI
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventXII International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment - Grenoble, France
Duration: May 26 2003May 30 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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