Nickel by ICP-MS
Clinical details: 
Nickel (Ni) is an essential element in many species. In humans, there is some evidence to suggest an essential role in haematopoesis alongside vitamin B12, though only trace amounts are needed, and no known condition is associated with nickel deficiency. The element is essential at levels as low as <1µg/kg/day.

Nickel is found in inexpensive jewellery and is the most common cause of hypersensitivity dermatitis (‘nickel dermatitis’). This condition can also arise through chronic industrial exposure to nickel compounds. Nickel tetracarbonyl, used as an intermediate in the nickel refining industry and in alloy manufacture, is a volatile liquid. It is lipid soluble, and has been shown to cause pulmonary oedema, airway irritation and CNS effects with chronic exposure.

Inorganic nickel salts (primarily present in the oxidation state, Ni2+) are used in the steel industry, as a catalyst, and in the manufacture of jewellery, heat exchangers, Ni-Cd batteries and also to colour ceramics. Occupational exposure is thus feasible through air particulates or through poor work system/hygiene. Ingestion of nickel salts causes gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhoea), neurological symptoms (headache, lassitude) and mild nephrotoxicity. It also increases the risk of cancer of the respiratory system.
Reference range: 

Serum/plasma: <19 nmol/L (unexposed individuals)

Urine: <102 nmol/L (unexposed individuals)

N.B.: Occupational exposure will lead to significantly elevated nickel concentrations

Sample type and Volume required: 
1 mL plasma/serum

20 mL urine

Turnaround time: 
1-2 weeks
Storage and transport: 
Stable at 4°C for at least two days. Send by overnight first class post.
Toxicology Department at King's Hospital
020 3299 5881
King's College Hospital
Bessemer Wing - 3rd Floor
Denmark Hill
London SE5 9RS
Trace Elements Laboratory at King's College Hospital
020 3299 3008
King's College Hospital
Bessemer Wing - Top Floor
Denmark Hill
London SE5 9RS
For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 07/08/2015