Serum lactate dehydrogenase and its isoenzyme pattern in ex-coalminers.

N.A.M. Cobben, M. Drent, A.M.W.J. Schols, R.J.S. Lamers, E.F.M. Wouters, M.P. van Dieijen-Visser

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Department of Pulmonology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, a marker of cell damage, is increased in several pulmonary disorders, especially when fibrosis is involved. In rats exposed to silica, high levels of LDH activity were found. A rise of serum LDH3 has been associated with lung tissue injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the serum LDH isoenzyme pattern after coal-dust exposure and the possible relation to pulmonary function tests. Ex-coalminers (n = 201), with a history of coal-dust exposure more than 20 yr ago, were admitted to the authors' hospital for a medical check-up and were included in the study. The serum LDH activity was found to be elevated in 79.1% of the ex-coalminers (634 +/- 245 U I-1). Moreover, in 196 of the 201 cases (97.5%), a high LDH3 level (31 +/- 4%) was demonstrated. A moderate negative relation was found between the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and the LDH activity (r = -0.26; P < 0.001), as well as between FEV1 and LDH3 activity (r = -0.23; P < 0.001), even in the subgroup (n = 42) with a normal LDH. All other liver function tests were within normal limits. These results suggest that coal-dust, even many years after the actual exposure, causes an increase in the total serum LDH activity and changes in the LDH-isoenzyme pattern, mainly characterized by a high LDH3 activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-623
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

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