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March 1974

Red Blood Cell δ-Aminolevulinic Acid Dehydrase Activity: An Index of Body Lead Burden

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Drs. Nieburg and Oski); and State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, NY (Drs. Nieburg, Weiner, and Oski and Mrs. Oski).

Am J Dis Child. 1974;127(3):348-350. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110220046005

It has been suggested that the measurement of the degree of inhibition of red blood cell (RBC) δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydrase (ALAD) activity is a useful indicator for the detection of children with increased lead absorption. Twenty children had simultaneous measurements of blood lead and RBC-ALAD activity, and then received chelation treatment with edetic acid (EDTA). The inhibition of RBC-ALAD activity was found to be highly correlated with the amount of lead excreted in the urine. In this study, the measurement of RBC-ALAD appeared to be superior to the measurement of blood lead in identifying those children with an increased burden of "chelatable" lead.

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