234884 Mercury and measles virus antibodies in US children, NHANES 2003-2004

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carolyn M. Gallagher, MPA, MPH , PhD Program in Population Health and Clinical Outcomes Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY
Jaymie R. Meliker, PhD , Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
Environmental toxins, pathogens and host susceptibility are cofactors that may interact to contribute to disease. In vitro mercury exposure inhibits antiviral cytokines in human cells; however, little is known about the relationship between mercury and viruses in children. Children are particularly susceptible to mercury neurotoxicity; lower vitamin B-12 and folate levels and higher homocysteine levels may represent susceptibility cofactors. This study aimed to evaluate associations between total blood mercury (Hg) and measles antibodies, and the influence of susceptibility cofactors. Cross-sectional data on these analytes, including methylmalonic acid (MMA, indicator of B-12 deficiency), were obtained from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for children aged 6-11 years with measles seropositivity (n=692). We used linear regression to evaluate relationships between measles antibodies and continuous Hg and Hg quartiles (Q, g/L) {Q1: Hg<=0.20; Q2: 0.20-0.40; Q3: 0.40-0.80; Q4: > 0.80}, stratified by sex, MMA>=, folate <, and homocysteine>= sample medians, adjusted for demographic, nutritional and environmental cofactors. Continuous Hg was inversely associated with measles antibodies in non-stratified analysis, yet positively associated among the subset of boys with higher MMA and lower folate (n=98); among subset boys with higher homocysteine levels (n=61), correlations were positive across all Hg quartiles relative to Q1: Q2: =6.25 (2.45, 10.04); Q3: =8.69 (6.39, 11.00); Q4: =5.62 (3.09, 8.15) (ptrend=0.037). These results suggest that mercury may be associated with levels of serum measles antibodies. This is important because additional research is needed to clarify this relationship.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Epidemiology

Learning Objectives:
Identify 3 key components of an integrated paradigm for the refinement of environmental epidemiological scientific knowledge. Name 2 examples of susceptibility cofactors in children. Describe a biologically plausible mechanism of action for a mercury-viral association.

Keywords: Child Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a doctoral student in the Program in Population Health and Clinical Outcomes Research at Stony Brook University, have presented at previous APHA meetings, and have published several papers relevant to environmental epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.