Association between genetic variations in GSH-related and MT genes and low-dose methylmercury exposure in children and women of childbearing age: a pilot study
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Genetic variations in glutathione (GSH)-related and metallothionein (MT) genes, which are involved in producing enzymes in the methylmercury (MeHg) metabolism pathway, have been proposed as one of the reasons for the individual variability in MeHg toxicokinetics.

To investigate the impact of genetic variations in MT and GSH-related genes on the association of fish consumption with body burden of MeHg, as measured by hair Hg concentrations among young children and women of childbearing age.

A total of 179 unrelated children and 165 mothers with either high or low fish consumption were recruited from the community. Their hair total Hg (tHg) and MeHg levels and genotypes for SNPs located on the GCLC, GCLM, GPX1, GSTA1, GSTP1, MT1A, MT2A, and MT4 genes were determined. Based on their 14-day food records, the amounts of fish consumed and their MeHg intakes were estimated. The impact of genetic variations on hair Hg concentrations was examined by using Mann-Whitney tests and multivariable linear regression analyses.

The presence of minor alleles of GCLC-129 (rs17883901), GPX1-198 (rs1050450) and MT1M (rs9936741) were associated with significantly lower hair tHg levels in mothers whereas mothers with minor alleles of GSTP1-105(rs1695) and MT1M (rs2270836) have significantly higher hair tHg levels. After adjustment for fish consumption and other confounding factors, apart from MT1M (rs2270836), all of the above SNPs remain significant in the multivariable linear regression models.

Our results in a group of children and women show that genetic variants of GSH-related and MT genes are associated with hair Hg concentrations. These genetic variations are likely to significantly affect MeHg metabolism and thus influence the accumulation of Hg in the human body.
Acceptance Date20/05/2020
All Author(s) ListChan Peggy Hiu Ying, Chan Kathy Yuen Yee, Schooling Catherine Mary, Hui Lai Ling, Chan Michael Ho Ming, Li Albert Martin, Cheung Robert Chi Keung, Lam Hugh Simon
Journal nameEnvironmental Research
Volume Number187
Article number109703
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsChildren, fish consumption, hair mercury, methylmercury, genetic polymorphism, metallothionein genes, glutathione-related genes, women

Last updated on 2021-17-09 at 00:23