Prenatal and recent methylmercury exposure and heart rate variability in young adults: the Seychelles Child Development Study.

TitlePrenatal and recent methylmercury exposure and heart rate variability in young adults: the Seychelles Child Development Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZareba, W, Thurston, SW, Zareba, G, Couderc, JPhilippe, Evans, K, Xia, J, Watson, GE, Strain, JJ, McSorley, E, Yeates, A, Mulhern, M, Shamlaye, CF, Bovet, P, van Wijngaarden, E, Davidson, PW, Myers, GJ
JournalNeurotoxicology and teratology
Date Published05/2019

Epidemiologic evidence of an adverse association between exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) from consuming fish and heart rate variability (HRV) is inconclusive. We aimed to evaluate MeHg exposure in relation to HRV parameters in a large cohort of young adults from a high fish consuming population in the Republic of Seychelles. Main Cohort participants in the Seychelles Child Development Study were evaluated at a mean age of 19 years. Prenatal MeHg exposure was determined in maternal hair growing during pregnancy and recent exposure in participant's hair taken at the evaluation. The evaluation consisted of short (~2 h) and long (overnight) Holter recordings obtained in 514 and 203 participants, respectively. Multivariable analyses examined the association of prenatal and recent MeHg exposure (in separate models) with time-domain and frequency-domain HRV parameters in different physiologic circumstances: supine position, standing position, mental stress when undergoing a mathematics test, sleep, and long recording. Prenatal MeHg exposure was not associated with any of the 23 HRV parameters studied after adjustment for multiplicity. The recent MeHg showed a trend toward significance only for few variables in the primary model. However, after additional adjustment for activity levels, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and multiplicity none were significant after a Bonferroni adjustment. In conclusion, prenatal and recent MeHg exposure had no consistent pattern of associations to support the hypothesis that they are adversely associated with heart rate variability in this study population that consumes large amounts of fish.

Alternate URL

Alternate JournalNeurotoxicol Teratol
Citation Key / SERVAL ID9599
Peer reviewRefereed
PubMed ID31128243


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