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Determinants of Arsenic Metabolism: Blood Arsenic Metabolites, Plasma Folate, Cobalamin, and Homocysteine Concentrations in Maternal–Newborn Pairs

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      BackgroundIn Bangladesh, tens of millions of people have been consuming waterborne arsenic for decades. The extent to which As is transported to the fetus during pregnancy has not been well characterized.ObjectivesWe therefore conducted a study of 101 pregnant women who gave birth in Matlab, Bangladesh.MethodsMaternal and cord blood pairs were collected and concentrations of total As were analyzed for 101 pairs, and As metabolites for 30 pairs. Maternal urinary As metabolites and plasma folate, cobalamin, and homocysteine levels in maternal cord pairs were also measured. Household tube well–water As concentrations exceeded the World Health Organization guideline of 10 μg/L in 38% of the cases.ResultsWe observed strong associations between maternal and cord blood concentrations of total As (r = 0.93, p < 0.0001). Maternal and cord blood arsenic metabolites (n = 30) were also strongly correlated: in dimethylarsinate (DMA) (r = 0.94, p < 0.0001), monomethylarsonate (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001), arsenite (As+3) (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001), and arsenate (As+5) (r = 0.89, p < 0.0001). Maternal homocysteine was a strong predictor of %DMA in maternal urine, maternal blood, and cord blood (β = −6.2, p < 0.02; β = −10.9, p < 0.04; and β = −13.7, p < 0.04, respectively). Maternal folate was inversely associated with maternal blood As5+ (β = 0.56, p < 0.05), and maternal cobalamin was inversely associated with cord blood As5+ (β = −1.2, p < 0.01).ConclusionsWe conclude that exposure to all metabolites of inorganic As occurs in the prenatal period.

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      Most cited references 53

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      Water Arsenic Exposure and Children’s Intellectual Function in Araihazar, Bangladesh

      Exposure to arsenic has long been known to have neurologic consequences in adults, but to date there are no well-controlled studies in children. We report results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 201 children 10 years of age whose parents participate in our ongoing prospective cohort study examining health effects of As exposure in 12,000 residents of Araihazar, Bangladesh. Water As and manganese concentrations of tube wells at each child’s home were obtained by surveying all wells in the study region. Children and mothers came to our field clinic, where children received a medical examination in which weight, height, and head circumference were measured. Children’s intellectual function on tests drawn from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, version III, was assessed by summing weighted items across domains to create Verbal, Performance, and Full-Scale raw scores. Children provided urine specimens for measuring urinary As and creatinine and were asked to provide blood samples for measuring blood lead and hemoglobin concentrations. Exposure to As from drinking water was associated with reduced intellectual function after adjustment for sociodemographic covariates and water Mn. Water As was associated with reduced intellectual function, in a dose–response manner, such that children with water As levels > 50 μg/L achieved significantly lower Performance and Full-Scale scores than did children with water As levels < 5.5 μg/L. The association was generally stronger for well-water As than for urinary As.
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        Plasma creatinine determination. A new and specific Jaffe reaction method.

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          Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline


            Author and article information

            [1 ] Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
            [2 ] Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
            [3 ] Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
            [4 ] ICDDR, B: Centre for Health and Population Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh
            [5 ] Department of Pharmacology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
            Author notes
            Address correspondence to J. Graziano, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, 60 Haven Ave., B1, New York, NY 10032 USA. Telephone: (212) 305-1678. Fax: (212) 305-3857. E-mail: jg24@

            The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            October 2007
            28 June 2007
            : 115
            : 10
            : 1503-1509
            This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI.
            Children's Health

            Public health

            newborn, blood arsenic metabolites, maternal, folate, dma, b12, mma, homocysteine, arsenic


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