Maternal gestational mercury exposure in relation to cord blood T cell alterations and placental gene expression signatures

Hesam Movassagh, Yuliya Halchenko, Vanitha Sampath, Unni C. Nygaard, Brian Jackson, David Robbins, Zhigang Li, Kari C. Nadeau, Margaret R. Karagas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The immunotoxic impacts of mercury during early life is poorly understood. We investigated the associations between gestational mercury exposure and frequency of cord blood T cells as well as placental gene expression. Frequency of natural Treg cells was positively associated with prenatal and postpartum mercury toenail concentrations. Frequency of NKT and activated naïve Th cells was positively associated with prenatal toenail mercury concentrations and number of maternal silver-mercury dental amalgams, respectively. Placental gene expression analyses revealed distinct gene signatures associated with mercury exposure. Decreased placental expression of a histone demethylase, KDM4DL, was associated with both higher prenatal and postpartum maternal toenail mercury levels among male infants and remained statistically significant after adjustment for fish and seafood consumption. The results suggest that gestational exposure to mercury concentrations contribute to alterations in both T cells and gene expression in placenta at birth. These alterations may inform mechanisms of mercury immunotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111385
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume201
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Cord blood
  • Gene expression
  • Mercury
  • Pregnancy
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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