BACKGROUND: Prenatal overexposure to manganese (Mn), an essential micronutrient, is related to impaired fetal growth and development. Fetuses appear to be highly sensitive to Mn during short periods of gestation. However, little is known about the critical windows of susceptibility to Mn for humans. OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to estimate trimester-specific associations of exposure to Mn with size at birth. METHODS: Urine samples of 3,022 women were collected repeatedly in the first, second, and third trimesters in Wuhan, China. Urinary concentrations of Mn and other toxic metals were measured using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Trimester-specific associations of specific gravity– adjusted urinary Mn concentrations with birth weight, birth length, and ponderal index were estimated using multivariable linear regressions with generalized estimating equations. Linear mixed models were applied to evaluate the windows of susceptibility to Mn exposure by comparing the pattern of Mn exposure among newborns with restricted size at birth to those without. RESULTS: When compared with the third quintile of urinary Mn concentrations, both higher and lower quintiles of urinary Mn concentrations in the second and third trimesters were related to reduced birth weight, birth length, and ponderal index. But the observed associations for higher quintiles were stronger and more likely to be statistically significant [e.g., for women who were in the fifth quintile of Mn concentration in the third trimester, the reduction in birth weight was −11:2 (95% CI: −22:2, −0:1) g and in birth length was −0:04 (95% CI: −0:08, 0.00) cm]. Moreover, newborns with restricted size at birth, compared with those without, had higher levels of Mn exposure in the second and third trimesters. CONCLUSIONS: This prospective prenatal cohort study revealed an association of exposure to Mn during pregnancy, especially late pregnancy, with restricted size at birth. Replications are needed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis