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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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      Abstract

      Background

      In 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.

      Objectives

      We therefore conducted a study of 101 pregnant women who gave birth in Matlab, Bangladesh.

      Methods

      Maternal 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.

      Results

      We 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 As 5+ (β = 0.56, p < 0.05), and maternal cobalamin was inversely associated with cord blood As 5+ (β = −1.2, p < 0.01).

      Conclusions

      We conclude that exposure to all metabolites of inorganic As occurs in the prenatal period.

      Related collections

      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.

         Jason Slot (1964)
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          Water Arsenic Exposure and Intellectual Function in 6-Year-Old Children in Araihazar, Bangladesh

          Background We recently reported results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 10-year-olds in Bangladesh, who had been exposed to arsenic from drinking water in their home wells. Objectives We present results of a similar investigation of 301 randomly selected 6-year-olds whose parents participated in our ongoing prospective study of the health effects of As exposure in 12,000 residents of Araihazar, Bangladesh. Methods Water As and manganese concentrations of tube wells at each home were obtained by surveying all study region wells. Children and mothers were first visited at home, where the quality of home stimulation was measured, and then seen in our field clinic, where children received a medical examination wherein weight, height, and head circumference were assessed. We assessed children’s intellectual function using subtests drawn from the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, version III, by summing weighted items across domains to create Verbal, Performance, Processing Speed, and Full-Scale raw scores. Children provided urine specimens for measuring urinary As and were asked to provide blood samples for blood lead measurements. Results Exposure to As from drinking water was associated with reduced intellectual function before and after adjusting for water Mn, for blood lead levels, and for sociodemographic features known to contribute to intellectual function. With covariate adjustment, water As remained significantly negatively associated with both Performance and Processing Speed raw scores; associations were less strong than in our previously studied 10-year-olds. Conclusion This second cross-sectional study of As exposure expands our concerns about As neurotoxicity to a younger age group.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [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@ 123456columbia.edu

            The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

            Journal
            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            0091-6765
            October 2007
            28 June 2007
            : 115
            : 10
            : 1503-1509
            2022678
            17938743
            10.1289/ehp.9906
            ehp0115-001503
            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.
            Categories
            Research
            Children's Health

            Public health

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

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