Higher blood lead (BPb) levels have been reported in children living in communities that receive fluoride-treated water. Here, we examined whether fluoride co-administered with lead increases BPb and lead concentrations in calcified tissues in Wistar rats exposed to this metal from the beginning of gestation. We exposed female rats and their offspring to control water (Control Group), 100mg/L of fluoride (F Group), 30mg/L of lead (Pb Group), or 100mg/L of fluoride and 30mg/L of lead (F+Pb Group) from 1 week prior to mating until offspring was 81 days old. Blood and calcified tissues (enamel, dentine, and bone) were harvested at day 81 for lead and fluoride analyses. Higher BPb concentrations were found in the F+Pb Group compared with the Pb Group (76.7+/-11.0microg/dL vs. 22.6+/-8.5microg/dL, respectively; p<0.001). Two- to threefold higher lead concentrations were found in the calcified tissues in the F+Pb Group compared with the Pb Group (all p<0.001). Fluoride concentrations were similar in the F and in the F+Pb Groups. These findings show that fluoride consistently increases BPb and calcified tissues Pb concentrations in animals exposed to low levels of lead and suggest that a biological effect not yet recognized may underlie the epidemiological association between increased BPb lead levels in children living in water-fluoridated communities.
PMID: 20188782 DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2010.02.002