In vivoquantification of bone-fluorine by delayed neutron activation analysis: a pilot study of hand-bone-fluorine levels in a Canadian population
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Humans can be exposed to fluorine (F) through their diet, occupation, environment and oral dental care products. Fluorine, at proper dosages, is believed to have positive effects by reducing the incidence of dental caries, but fluorine toxicity can occur when people are exposed to excessive quantities of fluorine. In this paper we present the results of a small pilot in vivo study on 33 participants living in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. The mean age of participants was 45 ± 18 years with a range of 20-87 years. The observed calcium normalized hand-bone-fluorine concentrations in this small pilot study ranged from 1.1 to 8.8 mg F/g Ca. Every person measured in this study had levels of fluorine in bone above the detection limit of the system. The average fluorine concentration in bone was found to be 3.5 ± 0.4 mg F/g Ca. No difference was observed in average concentration for men and women. In addition, a significant correlation (r(2) = 0.55, p < 0.001) was observed between hand-bone-fluorine content and age. The amount of fluorine was found to increase at a rate of 0.084 ± 0.014 mg F/g Ca per year. There was no significant difference observed in this small group of subjects between the accumulation rates in men and women. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time data from in vivo measurement of fluorine content in humans by neutron activation analysis have been presented. The data determined by this technique were found to be consistent with results from ex vivo studies from other countries. We suggest that the data demonstrate that this low risk non-invasive diagnostic technique will permit the routine assessment of bone-fluorine content with potential application in the study of clinical bone-related diseases. This small study demonstrated that people in Southern Ontario are exposed to fluoride in measureable quantities, and that fluoride can be seen to accumulate in bone with age. However, all volunteers were found to have levels below those expected with clinical fluorosis, and only one older subject was found to have levels comparable with preclinical exposure.
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