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Toxics 2018, 6(3), 38;

Assessment of Cardiac Autonomic Function in Relation to Methylmercury Neurotoxicity

Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Akita University Graduate School of Medicine, Akita, Akita 010-8543, Japan
National Institute for Minamata Disease, Minamata, Kumamoto 867-0008, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Methylmercury Toxicology and Risk Assessment)
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After the European Food Safety Authority reviewed reports of methylmercury and heart rate variability (HRV) in 2012, the panel concluded that, although some studies of cardiac autonomy suggested an autonomic effect of methylmercury, the results were inconsistent among studies and the implications for health were unclear. In this study, we reconsider this association by adding a perspective on the physiological context. Cardiovascular rhythmicity is usually studied within different frequency domains of HRV. Three spectral components are usually detected; in humans these are centered at <0.04 Hz, 0.15 Hz (LF), and 0.3 Hz (HF). LF and HF (sympathetic and parasympathetic activities, respectively) are evaluated in terms of frequency and power. By searching PubMed, we identified 13 studies examining the effect of methylmercury exposure on HRV in human populations in the Faroe Islands, the Seychelles and other countries. Considering both reduced HRV and sympathodominant state (i.e., lower HF, higher LF, or higher LF/HF ratio) as autonomic abnormality, eight of them showed the significant association with methylmercury exposure. Five studies failed to demonstrate any significant association. In conclusion, these data suggest that increased methylmercury exposure was consistently associated with autonomic abnormality, though the influence of methylmercury on HRV (e.g., LF) might differ for prenatal and postnatal exposures. The results with HRV should be included in the risk characterization of methylmercury. The HRV parameters calculated by frequency domain analysis appear to be more sensitive to methylmercury exposure than those by time domain analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: heart rate variability; methylmercury neurotoxicity; review; sympathodominant state heart rate variability; methylmercury neurotoxicity; review; sympathodominant state

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Karita, K.; Iwata, T.; Maeda, E.; Sakamoto, M.; Murata, K. Assessment of Cardiac Autonomic Function in Relation to Methylmercury Neurotoxicity. Toxics 2018, 6, 38.

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