China study on placental concentrations on heavy metals and the risk of neural tube defects

Monday, Jan 21, 2019

Reference:

Jin L, Zhang L, Li Z, Liu JM, Ye R, Ren A. Placental concentrations of mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic and the risk of neural tube defects in a Chinese population. Reprod Toxicol. 2013 Jan;35:25-31. Link to PubMed

  • Background:
    A study to examine the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) associated with utero exposure to heavy metals – mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) in Chinese population.
     
  • Method:
    • Subjects – 80 newborns with NTDs (anencephaly or spina bifida) and 50 healthy term newborns (controls) recruited from Shanxi Province.
    • Concentrations of total Hg, Cd, Pb and As were measured from placentas collected at delivery or pregnancy termination.
       
  • Key findings:
    • Median Hg concentration – Significantly higher (p<0.001) in cases with any NTDs (2.25 ng/g) than the controls (1.16 ng/g)
    • Median Cd concentration – Significantly lower (p<0.001) in cases with any NTDs (3.85 ng/g) than the controls (7.64 ng/g).
    • No significant differences in both median concentrations of Pb and As between NTDs and control groups.
    • Dose-response pattern of Hg levels and risk of NTDs – 2.7-fold increased risk with Hg concentration of 1.21 to 2.32 ng/g; and 18.2-fold increased risk with Hg concentration of ≥ 2.32 ng/g.
       
  • Conclusion:
    • Higher placental concentrations of Hg were associated with increased risk of NTDs.


Additional reading:
Link to the RCOG's recommendation on reducing chemical exposure during pregnancy

 

WYE-EM-008-JAN-14


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