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Chemosphere. 2015 Feb;120:123-30. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

Mercury, APOE, and child behavior.

Author information

1
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan.
2
The School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.
3
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Public Health, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan.
4
Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
5
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Public Health, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address: pchen@ntu.edu.tw.

Abstract

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxicant and may have an adverse impact on child behavior. However, this impact was found to be inconsistent in fish-eating populations. Although the positive effects of the nutrients provided by a fish diet may overcome the effect of MeHg, the possibility of genetic variants influencing an individual's response to MeHg has also been discussed. The role of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon 4 allele (ε4) on MeHg related neurotoxicity is still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the role of APOE variants in the relationship between cord blood mercury (Hg) and child behavior. A total of 166 subjects were recruited at delivery, and their cord blood was collected for laboratory analyses of Hg and the APOE genotype. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was administered to the subjects when they reached the age of two years. An increase in cord blood Hg concentrations in APOE ε4 carriers was consistently associated with an increased score for all CBCL syndromes. After controlling for potential confounding factors, the group of ε4 carriers with an elevated cord blood Hg concentration had significantly higher scores in the syndrome categories of general internalizing, emotionally reactive, and anxiety/depression as well as CBCL total scores. Furthermore, general externalizing and aggressive syndromes were borderline significantly higher in this group. In conclusion, we suggest that APOE may modify the toxicity of MeHg. APOE ε4 carriers may be more vulnerable to the effects of MeHg on child behavior at the age of two years.

KEYWORDS:

Apolipoprotein E (APOE); Child Behavior Checklists/1.5-5 (CBCL/1.5-5); Child behavior; Genetic susceptibility; Methylmercury (MeHg)

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