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Sci Total Environ. 2012 Aug 1;431:188-96. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.036. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

Effect of mercury (Hg) dental amalgam fillings on renal and oxidative stress biomarkers in children.

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Biological & Medical Research Department, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, PO Box: 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.


We examined the effect of mercury (Hg) associated with dental amalgam fillings on biomarkers of renal and oxidative stress in children between the ages of 5-15.5 years. Urine samples were analyzed for N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG), α(1)-microglobulin (α(1)-MG), β(2)-microglobulin (β(2)-MG), retinol binding protein (RBP), albumin (ALB), 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA). The level of urinary Hg (UHg-C) was calculated as μg/g creatinine. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the excretion of urinary NAG was significantly associated with the presence of dental amalgam fillings (β=0.149, P=0.03) and the levels of UHg-C (β=0.531, P=0), with an interaction between the two (P=0). The increase in urinary NAG in relation to UHg-C levels had a dose-effect pattern. The lowest observed effect was seen at UHg-C levels above 1.452 μg/g creatinine, which is lower than previously reported. In contrast, α(1)-MG was negatively associated with the presence of dental amalgam fillings (β=-0.270, P=0), but positively with UHg-C levels (β=0.393, P=0). There were 7 children without, and one child with, dental amalgam fillings with urinary α(1)-MG levels above the reference limit of >7 mg/g creatinine. Even though α(1)-MG seems to be a reliable biomarker for early changes in renal functions, it might exert its effect only at a higher level of exposure. An inverse relationship was also observed between urinary 8-OHdG levels and the presence of dental amalgam fillings. This might suggest that the dental amalgam does not increase DNA damage but reduces the capacity to repair DNA, leading to lower urinary excretion of 8-OHdG. On the other hand, we found that Hg affected the excretion of urinary 8-OHdG in a dose-related pattern that was mostly associated with long-term exposure to low Hg levels. Urinary NAG levels were positively associated with urinary MDA levels (β=0.516, P=0) but not with 8-OHdG (β=0.134, P=0.078) after adjustment for potential confounders. Both UHg-C and the presence of dental amalgam fillings remained predictors of the NAG model. Our data provide evidence that low exposure to Hg from dental amalgam fillings exerts an effect on kidney tubular functions in children. Oxidative stress may have played a role in this mechanism. The results of this study would also suggest that urinary NAG is the most sensitive of all the investigated renal biomarkers. These results should be confirmed with further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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