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Arsenic Exposure Affects Plasma Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) in Children in Rural Bangladesh

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      Exposure to inorganic arsenic (As) through drinking water during pregnancy is associated with lower birth size and child growth. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of As exposure on child growth parameters to evaluate causal associations.


      Children born in a longitudinal mother-child cohort in rural Bangladesh were studied at 4.5 years (n=640) as well as at birth (n=134). Exposure to arsenic was assessed by concurrent and prenatal (maternal) urinary concentrations of arsenic metabolites (U-As). Associations with plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), calcium (Ca), vitamin D (Vit-D), bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP), intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), and phosphate (PO 4) were evaluated by linear regression analysis, adjusted for socioeconomic factor, parity and child sex. Child U-As (per 10 µg/L) was significantly inversely associated with concurrent plasma IGF-1 (β=-0.27; 95% confidence interval: -0.50, -0.0042) at 4.5 years. The effect was more obvious in girls (β=-0.29; -0.59, 0.021) than in boys, and particularly in girls with adequate height (β=-0.491; -0.97, -0.02) or weight (β=-0.47; 0.97, 0.01). Maternal U-As was inversely associated with child IGF-1 at birth (r=-0.254, P=0.003), but not at 4.5 years. There was a tendency of positive association between U-As and plasma PO 4 in stunted boys (β=0.27; 0.089, 0.46). When stratified by % monomethylarsonic acid (MMA, arsenic metabolite) (median split at 9.7%), a much stronger inverse association between U-As and IGF-1 in the girls (β=-0.41; -0.77, -0.03) was obtained above the median split.


      The results suggest that As-related growth impairment in children is mediated, at least partly, through suppressed IGF-1 levels.

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      Most cited references 37

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          Effects of prenatal micronutrient and early food supplementation on maternal hemoglobin, birth weight, and infant mortality among children in Bangladesh: the MINIMat randomized trial.

          Nutritional insult in fetal life and small size at birth are common in low-income countries and are associated with serious health consequences. To test the hypothesis that prenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) and an early invitation to food supplementation would increase maternal hemoglobin level and birth weight and decrease infant mortality, and to assess whether a combination of these interventions would further enhance these outcomes. A randomized trial with a factorial design in Matlab, Bangladesh, of 4436 pregnant women, recruited between November 11, 2001, and October 30, 2003, with follow-up until June 23, 2009. Participants were randomized into 6 groups; a double-masked supplementation with capsules of 30 mg of iron and 400 μg of folic acid, 60 mg of iron and 400 μg of folic acid, or MMS containing a daily allowance of 15 micronutrients, including 30 mg of iron and 400 μg of folic acid, was combined with food supplementation (608 kcal 6 days per week) randomized to either early invitation (9 weeks' gestation) or usual invitation (20 weeks' gestation). Maternal hemoglobin level at 30 weeks' gestation, birth weight, and infant mortality. Under 5-year mortality was also assessed. Adjusted maternal hemoglobin level at 30 weeks' gestation was 115.0 g/L (95% CI, 114.4-115.5 g/L), with no significant differences among micronutrient groups. Mean maternal hemoglobin level was lower in the early vs usual invitation groups (114.5 vs 115.4 g/L; difference, -0.9 g/L; 95% CI, -1.7 to -0.1; P = .04). There were 3625 live births out of 4436 pregnancies. Mean birth weight among 3267 singletons was 2694 g (95% CI, 2680-2708 g), with no significant differences among groups. The early invitation with MMS group had an infant mortality rate of 16.8 per 1000 live births vs 44.1 per 1000 live births for usual invitation with 60 mg of iron and 400 μg of folic acid (hazard ratio [HR], 0.38; 95% CI, 0.18-0.78). Early invitation with MMS group had an under 5-year mortality rate of 18 per 1000 live births (54 per 1000 live births for usual invitation with 60 mg of iron and 400 μg of folic acid; HR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.18-0.65). Usual invitation with MMS group had the highest incidence of spontaneous abortions and the highest infant mortality rate. Among pregnant women in poor communities in Bangladesh, treatment with multiple micronutrients, including iron and folic acid combined with early food supplementation, vs a standard program that included treatment with iron and folic acid and usual food supplementation, resulted in decreased childhood mortality. Identifier: ISRCTN16581394.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Centre for Vaccine Sciences, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Dhaka, Bangladesh
            [2 ]Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
            [3 ]Department of Clinical Trial and Clinical Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
            [4 ]International Maternal and Child Health, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
            Inserm, France
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: RR MV. Performed the experiments: SA RSR KBA MD MG AKR. Analyzed the data: SA KBA. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: RR MV YW. Wrote the manuscript: RR MV SA. Revision of manuscript: RR MV SA YW ECE.

            Role: Editor
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            26 November 2013
            : 8
            : 11

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            The study was supported by the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (Sida/SAREC Agreement support; grant GR00599); Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (18256005) and icddr,b. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Research Article



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