Maternal gestational mercury exposure in relation to cord blood T cell alterations and placental gene expression signatures. Environmental research Movassagh, H., Halchenko, Y., Sampath, V., Nygaard, U. C., Jackson, B., Robbins, D., Li, Z., Nadeau, K. C., Karagas, M. R. 2021: 111385


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 naive 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.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111385

View details for PubMedID 34129869