Prenatal exposure to thallium is associated with decreased mitochondrial DNA copy number in newborns: Evidence from a birth cohort study.

Author(s) Wu, M.; Shu, Y.; Song, L.; Liu, B.; Zhang, L.; Wang, L.; Liu, Y.; Bi, J.; Xiong, C.; Cao, Z.; Xu, S.; Xia, W.; Li, Y.; Wang, Y.
Journal Environ Int
Date Published 2019 Aug
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to thallium is related to adverse birth outcomes. However, little is known about the effects of prenatal exposure to thallium on the mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) in newborns; such knowledge might reveal a potential mechanism linking maternal thallium exposure and adverse birth outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the trimester-specific associations of maternal thallium exposure with cord blood leukocyte mtDNAcn.

METHODS: A total of 746 pregnant women with trimester-specific urinary samples and cord blood samples were recruited from Wuhan Children Hospital between November 2013 and March 2015 in Wuhan City, China. The concentration of thallium in maternal urine was quantified using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Cord blood leukocyte mtDNAcn was measured by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Trimester-specific associations of specific gravity (SG)-adjusted urinary thallium concentrations with mtDNAcn were estimated using a multiple informant model.

RESULTS: The geometric mean value of maternal urinary thallium was 0.34 μg/L, 0.36 μg/L, and 0.34 μg/L for the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. Prenatal exposure to thallium during the first trimester, rather than during the second or the third trimester, was identified as negatively related to mtDNAcn. The multiple informant model showed a 10.4% lower level of mtDNAcn with each doubling increase of thallium levels (95% CI, -16.4%, -3.9%; P = 0.002). The observed associations were stronger among female newborns and among newborns born to older mothers.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study revealed a significant negative association between maternal thallium exposure during early pregnancy and cord blood leukocyte mtDNAcn in Chinese newborns, pointing to the important role of mitochondria as a target of thallium toxicity in early pregnancy.

DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2019.05.053
ISSN 1873-6750
Citation Wu M, Shu Y, Song L, Liu B, Zhang L, Wang L, et al. Prenatal exposure to thallium is associated with decreased mitochondrial DNA copy number in newborns: Evidence from a birth cohort study. Environ Int. 2019;129:470-477.