Some experimental animal studies reported that vanadium had beneficial effects on blood total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG). However, the relationship between vanadium exposure and lipid, lipoprotein profiles in human subjects remains uncertain. This study aimed to compare the serum lipid and lipoprotein profiles of occupational vanadium exposed and non-exposed workers, and to provide human evidence on serum lipid, lipoprotein profiles and atherogenic indexes changes in relation to vanadium exposure.
This cross-sectional study recruited 533 vanadium exposed workers and 241 non-exposed workers from a Steel and Iron Group in Sichuan, China. Demographic characteristics and occupational information were collected through questionnaires. Serum lipid and lipoprotein levels were measured for all participants. The ratios of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) to HDL-C and apoB to apoA-I were used as atherogenic indexes. A general linear model was applied to compare outcomes of the two groups while controlling possible confounders and multivariate logistic regression was performed to evaluate the relationship between low HDL-C level, abnormal atherogenic index and vanadium exposure.
Higher levels of HDL-C and apoA-I could be observed in the vanadium exposed group compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, atherogenic indexes (TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C, and apoB/apoA-I ratios) were found statistically lower in the vanadium exposed workers (P < 0.05). Changes in HDL-C, TC/HDL-C, and LDL-C/HDL-C were more pronounced in male workers than that in female workers. In male workers, after adjusting for potential confounding variables as age, habits of smoking and drinking, occupational vanadium exposure was still associated with lower HDL-C (OR 0.41; 95% CI, 0.27-0.62) and abnormal atherogenic index (OR 0.38; 95% CI, 0.20-0.70).
Occupational vanadium exposure appears to be associated with increased HDL-C and apoA-I levels and decreased atherogenic indexes. Among male workers, a significantly negative association existed between low HDL-C level, abnormal atherogenic index and occupational vanadium exposure. This suggests vanadium has beneficial effects on blood levels of HDL-C and apoA-I.