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Toxics 2018, 6(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics6030035

Expression of Genes Involved in Stress, Toxicity, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity in Relation to Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead in Human Blood: A Pilot Study

1
Stony Brook University School of Medicine, 101 Nicolls Road, Health Sciences Center, Level 4, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8434, USA
2
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
3
Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Stony Brook Medicine 3 Edmund D. Pellegrino Road, Stony Brook, NY 11794-9452, USA
4
Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
5
Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook Medicine, BST 8-140, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
6
Program in Public Health, Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University, HSC L3, Rm 071, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 July 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Methylmercury Toxicology and Risk Assessment)
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Abstract

There is growing evidence of immunotoxicity related to exposure to toxic trace metals, and an examination of gene expression patterns in peripheral blood samples may provide insights into the potential development of these outcomes. This pilot study aimed to correlate the blood levels of three heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, and lead) with differences in gene expression in 24 participants from the Long Island Study of Seafood Consumption. We measured the peripheral blood mRNA expression of 98 genes that are implicated in stress, toxicity, inflammation, and autoimmunity. We fit multiple linear regression models with multiple testing correction to correlate exposure biomarkers with mRNA abundance. The mean blood Hg in this cohort was 16.1 µg/L, which was nearly three times the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference dose (5.8 µg/L). The levels of the other metals were consistent with those in the general population: the mean Pb was 26.8 µg/L, and the mean Cd was 0.43 µg/L. The expression of three genes was associated with mercury, four were associated with cadmium, and five were associated with lead, although none were significant after multiple testing correction. Little evidence was found to associate metal exposure with mRNA abundance for the tested genes that were associated with stress, toxicity, inflammation, or autoimmunity. Future work should provide a more complete picture of physiological reactions to heavy metal exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hg; Cd; Pb; mRNA; Fish Hg; Cd; Pb; mRNA; Fish
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Monastero, R.N.; Vacchi-Suzzi, C.; Marsit, C.; Demple, B.; Meliker, J.R. Expression of Genes Involved in Stress, Toxicity, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity in Relation to Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead in Human Blood: A Pilot Study. Toxics 2018, 6, 35.

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