Plasma and red blood cells distribution of total mercury, inorganic mercury, and selenium in maternal and cord blood from a group of Japanese women

Mineshi Sakamoto, Koichi Haraguchi, Nozomi Tatsuta, Kunihiko Nakai, Masaaki Nakamura, Katsuyuki Murata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fetuses are a high-risk group for methylmercury (MeHg) exposure. The main objective of this study was to compare the characteristic profiles of total mercury (THg), inorganic mercury (IHg), MeHg, and selenium in plasma and red blood cells (RBCs) between maternal and cord blood at parturition collected from a group of Japanese women. Furthermore, correlations of THg in RBCs, which is a biomarker of MeHg, and THg in plasma, which is an IHg exposure biomarker, were examined in maternal and cord blood. Fifty-five pairs of maternal and cord blood samples obtained at parturition were collected from pregnant women in Fukuoka, Japan. THg in RBCs and plasma were significant correlated between maternal and cord blood. THg in RBCs was 13.9 ng/mL for cord and 9.16 ng/mL for maternal blood, with a cord:maternal RBCs ratio for THg of 1.58, suggesting that MeHg is actively transferred from the mother to the fetus via the placenta. THg in plasma showed a positive correlation with THg in RBCs for maternal and cord blood. This result suggests that measuring THg in plasma can overestimate the exposure level to IHg in fish-eating populations. The percentages of IHg in cord plasma and RBCs were 31% and 1.7%, respectively, and those in maternal plasma and RBCs were 46% and 5.9%, respectively. These results suggest that cord blood is rich in MeHg and can easily transfer to the fetal brain. Selenium in cord plasma was 67 ng/mL and that in maternal plasma was 97 ng/mL, with a cord:maternal plasma ratio for Se of 0.69, suggesting that the protective effects of Se against MeHg toxicity in fetuses may be weaker than those expected in adult mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110896
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume196
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cord blood
  • Fukuoka
  • Methylmercury
  • Plasma
  • Red blood cells
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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