The concentration of lead in blood, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine was measured in patients with neurological disease and in control subjects including cases of plumbism. A plot of blood lead versus serum lead resembles the familiar curves of blood lead versus either free erythrocyte porphyrin or urinary delta-aminolaevulinic acid in that serum lead is constant up to a blood lead concentration of 40 micrograms/dl (2 mumol/l) and rises steeply thereafter. The serum lead concentrations yield renal clearances in the range 5-22 ml/min in agreement with values obtained with radiolead on man and predicted from animal studies. The lead content of cerebrospinal fluid is consistently less than that of serum, averaging 50% of the serum concentration for blood leads of less than 20 micrograms/dl (1 mumol/l) but rising to 80-90% in cases of plumbism. Patients with motor neurone disease could not be distinguished from those with other neurological diseases on the basis of the lead content of their serum or cerebrospinal fluid.
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