Nickel (Ni) is a metal widely used in nature. Nickel is essential for the catalytic activity of certain plant and bacterial enzymes but its role in humans has not been clarified. Elemental nickel may be necessary for life at very low concentrations and is essentially non-toxic.
Nickel is commonly used in industry (glassware, ceramics, paints, oil refining, plastics, batteries, catalysts, etc.). Nickel carbonyl Ni (CO) 4, is one of the most toxic chemicals for humans. Nickel carbonyl is absorbed upon inhalation, readily crosses all biological membranes and inhibits the activity of the ATPase and RNA polymerase enzymes. When nickel carbonyl is inhaled, it binds strongly to hemoglobin and thus oxygen cannot be transported. Nickel carbonyl affinity for hemoglobin is higher than that of carbon monoxide. Its binding to hemoglobin is the main transport mechanism of Ni (CO) 4 throughout the body.
An increase in nickel in the blood has been observed in patients undergoing dialysis. Inhalation of high nickel powder has been associated with the development of respiratory tract neoplasms and sinuses. Most nickel reactions are localized skin sensitivity and allergic skin reactions when in contact with nickel-containing alloys. However, these reactions are not correlated with the concentration of the metal in the blood.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to nickel?
We can measure nickel levels in blood and most biological materials.
Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.