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Nyland J.F.,University of South Carolina | Fillion M.,University of Quebec at Montréal | Barbosa Jr. F.,Laboratorio Of Toxicologia E Essencialidade Of Metais | Shirley D.L.,University of South Carolina | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2011

Background: Mercury (Hg) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant with neurodevelopmental and immune system effects. An informative biomarker of Hg-induced immunotoxicity could aid studies on the potential contribution to immune-related health effects. Objectives: Our objectives were to test the hypothesis that methylmercury (MeHg) exposures affect levels of serum biomarkers and to examine interactions between Hg and selenium (Se) in terms of these responses. Methods: This cross-sectional epidemiological study assessed adults living along the Tapajós River, a system long affected by MeHg. We measured antinuclear (ANA) and antinucleolar (ANoA) autoantibody levels and eight cytokines in serum samples (n = 232). Total Hg (including MeHg) and Se were measured in blood, plasma, hair, and urine. Results: The median (range) total Hg concentrations were 14.1 μg/g (1.1-62.4), 53.5 μg/L (4.3-288.9), 8.8 μg/L (0.2-40), and 3.0 μg/L (0.2-16.1) for hair, blood, plasma, and urine, respectively. Elevated titers of ANA (but not ANoA) were positively associated with MeHg exposure (log-t{stroke}ransformed, for blood and plasma), unadjusted [odds ratio (OR) = 2.6; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 6.2] and adjusted for sex and age (OR = 2.9; 95% CI: 1.1, 7.5). Proinflammatory [interleukin (IL)-6 and interferon (IFN)-γ], anti-inflammatory (IL-4), and IL-17 cytokine levels were increased with MeHg exposure; however, in the subset of the population with elevated ANA, proinflammatory IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and anti-inflammatory (IL-4) cytokine levels were decreased with MeHg exposure. Although Se status was associated with MeHg level (correlation coefficient = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.29, 1.43), Se status was not associated with any changes in ANA and did not modify associations between Hg and ANA titers. Conclusions: MeHg exposure was associated with an increased ANA and changes in serum cytokine profile. Moreover, alterations in serum cytokine profiles differed based on ANA response, suggesting a specific phenotype of MeHg susceptibility. Further research on the potential health implications of these observed immunological changes is warranted.

Lemire M.,University of Quebec at Montréal | Fillion M.,University of Quebec at Montréal | Frenette B.,University of Montréal | Mayer A.,University of Montréal | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2010

Background: Age-related cataracts (ARCs) are an important cause of blindness in developing countries. Although antioxidants may be part of the body's defense to prevent ARC, environmental contaminants may contribute to cataractogenesis. In fish-eating populations of the lower Tapajós region, elevated exposure to mercury (Hg) has been reported, and blood levels of selenium (Se) range from normal to very high (> 1,000 μg/L). Objectives: We examined ARCs in relation to these elements among adults (≥ 40 years of age) from 12 riverside communities. Methods: Participants (n = 211) provided blood samples and underwent an extensive ocular examination. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used to assess Hg and Se in blood and plasma. Results: One-third (n = 69; 32.7%) of the participants had ARC. Lower plasma Se (P-Se; < 25th percentile, 110 μg/L) and higher blood Hg (B-Hg; ≥ 25th percentile, 25 μg/L) were associated with a higher prevalence odds ratio (POR) of ARC [adjusted POR (95% confidence interval), 2.69 (1.11-6.56) and 4.45 (1.43-13.83), respectively]. Among participants with high P-Se, we observed a positive but nonsignificant association with high B-Hg exposure, whereas among those with low B-Hg, we observed no association for P-Se. However, compared with the optimum situation (high P-Se, low B-Hg), the POR for those with low P-Se and high B-Hg was 16.4 (3.0-87.9). This finding suggests a synergistic effect. Conclusion: Our results suggest that persons in this population with elevated Hg, the cataractogenic effects of Hg may be offset by Se. Because of the relatively small sample size and possible confounding by other dietary nutrients, additional studies with sufficient power to assess multiple nutrient and toxic interactions are required to confirm these findings.

Da Silva Santos V.,Laboratorio Of Toxicologia E Essencialidade Of Metais | De Almeida Teixeira G.H.,Laboratorio Of Toxicologia E Essencialidade Of Metais | Barbosa F.,Laboratorio Of Toxicologia E Essencialidade Of Metais
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues | Year: 2014

Açaí is a fruit from the Brazilian Amazon region, with an exotic flavor, possessing high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Based on these properties, the fruit is classified as one of the new "super fruits." The mean daily consumption of açai pulp may reach 300 ml in several Brazilian regions. Further, this fruit is also gaining popularity in Europe and North America. In this context, the aim of this study was to assess the levels of some essential minerals in freeze-dried açaí pulp obtained in different Brazilian locations. It was found that açaí pulp is rich in essential minerals (Ca, Fe, Mg, Zn), but the levels of copper (Cu) and especially manganese (Mn) are surprisingly markedly higher than the traditional sources of these elements in the human diet. A daily consumption of 300 ml açaí pulp leads to a Mn daily intake exceeding at least sixfold (14.6 mg on average) the reference daily intake for an adult. Consequently, Mn intake may surpass the permitted daily maximum intake of 11 mg, which leads to a special concern, particularly for children, vegetarians, and individuals with anemia, since iron (Fe) absorption is impaired by Mn. Our findings demonstrate that this fruit is a potential source of several nutrients and a good dietary supplement to resolve malnutrition problems. However, due to the expressive levels of Mn, further studies are necessary to evaluate potential adverse effects associated with açaí consumption. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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