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Iron status as a covariate in methylmercury-associated neurotoxicity risk



Iron status as a covariate in methylmercury-associated neurotoxicity risk



Chemosphere 100: 89-96



Intrauterine methylmercury exposure and prenatal iron deficiency negatively affect offspring's brain development. Since fish is a major source of both methylmercury and iron, occurrence of negative confounding may affect the interpretation of studies concerning cognition. We assessed relationships between methylmercury exposure and iron-status in childbearing females from a population naturally exposed to methylmercury through fish intake (Amazon). We concluded a census (refuse <20%) collecting samples from 274 healthy females (12-49 years) for hair-mercury determination and assessed iron-status through red cell tests and determination of serum ferritin and iron. Reactive C protein and thyroid hormones was used for excluding inflammation and severe thyroid dysfunctions that could affect results. We assessed the association between iron-status and hair-mercury by bivariate correlation analysis and also by different multivariate models: linear regression (to check trends); hierarchical agglomerative clustering method (groups of variables correlated with each other); and factor analysis (to examine redundancy or duplication from a set of correlated variables). Hair-mercury correlated weakly with mean corpuscular volume (r=.141; P=.020) and corpuscular hemoglobin (r=.132; .029), but not with the best biomarker of iron-status, ferritin (r=.037; P=.545). In the linear regression analysis, methylmercury exposure showed weak association with age-adjusted ferritin; age had a significant coefficient (Beta=.015; 95% CI: .003-.027; P=.016) but ferritin did not (Beta=.034; 95% CI: -.147 to .216; P=.711). In the hierarchical agglomerative clustering method, hair-mercury and iron-status showed the smallest similarities. Regarding factor analysis, iron-status and hair-mercury loaded different uncorrelated components. We concluded that iron-status and methylmercury exposure probably occur in an independent way.

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Accession: 053984862

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PMID: 24411835

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.12.053


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