Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy

Hannah Mc Schreier, Hsiao Hsien Hsu, Chitra Amarasiriwardena, Brent A. Coull, Lourdes Schnaas, Martha María Téllez-Rojo, Marcela Tamayo Y Ortiz, Rosalind J. Wright, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background: Disrupted maternal prenatal cortisol production influences offspring development. Factors influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis include social (e.g., stressful life events) and physical/chemical (e.g., toxic metals) pollutants. Mercury (Hg) is a common contaminant of fish and exposure is widespread in the US. No prior study has examined the joint associations of stress and mercury with maternal cortisol profiles in pregnancy. Objectives: To investigate potential synergistic influences of prenatal stress and Hg exposures on diurnal cortisol in pregnant women. Methods: Analyses included 732 women (aged 27.4∈±∈5.6 years) from a Mexico City pregnancy cohort. Participants collected saliva samples on two consecutive days (mean 19.52∈±∈3.00 weeks gestation) and reported life stressors over the past 6 months. Hg was assessed in toe nail clippings collected during pregnancy. Results: There were no main effects of Hg or psychosocial stress exposure on diurnal cortisol (ps∈>∈.20) but strong evidence of interaction effects on cortisol slope (interaction B∈=∈.006, SE∈=∈.003, p∈=∈.034) and cortisol at times 1 and 2 (interaction B∈=∈-.071, SE∈=∈.028, p∈=∈.013; B∈=∈-.078, SE∈=∈.032, p∈=∈.014). Women above the median for Hg and psychosocial stress exposure experienced a blunted morning cortisol response compared to women exposed to higher stress but lower Hg levels. Conclusions: Social and physical environmental factors interact to alter aspects of maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. Research focusing solely on either domain may miss synergistic influences with potentially important consequences to the offspring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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Mercury
Hydrocortisone
Mothers
Pregnancy
Poisons
Toes
Nails
Mexico
Saliva
Pregnant Women
Fishes
Metals
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Schreier, Hannah Mc ; Hsu, Hsiao Hsien ; Amarasiriwardena, Chitra ; Coull, Brent A. ; Schnaas, Lourdes ; Téllez-Rojo, Martha María ; Tamayo Y Ortiz, Marcela ; Wright, Rosalind J. ; Wright, Robert O. / Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source. 2015 ; Vol. 14, No. 1.
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title = "Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy",
abstract = "Background: Disrupted maternal prenatal cortisol production influences offspring development. Factors influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis include social (e.g., stressful life events) and physical/chemical (e.g., toxic metals) pollutants. Mercury (Hg) is a common contaminant of fish and exposure is widespread in the US. No prior study has examined the joint associations of stress and mercury with maternal cortisol profiles in pregnancy. Objectives: To investigate potential synergistic influences of prenatal stress and Hg exposures on diurnal cortisol in pregnant women. Methods: Analyses included 732 women (aged 27.4∈±∈5.6 years) from a Mexico City pregnancy cohort. Participants collected saliva samples on two consecutive days (mean 19.52∈±∈3.00 weeks gestation) and reported life stressors over the past 6 months. Hg was assessed in toe nail clippings collected during pregnancy. Results: There were no main effects of Hg or psychosocial stress exposure on diurnal cortisol (ps∈>∈.20) but strong evidence of interaction effects on cortisol slope (interaction B∈=∈.006, SE∈=∈.003, p∈=∈.034) and cortisol at times 1 and 2 (interaction B∈=∈-.071, SE∈=∈.028, p∈=∈.013; B∈=∈-.078, SE∈=∈.032, p∈=∈.014). Women above the median for Hg and psychosocial stress exposure experienced a blunted morning cortisol response compared to women exposed to higher stress but lower Hg levels. Conclusions: Social and physical environmental factors interact to alter aspects of maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. Research focusing solely on either domain may miss synergistic influences with potentially important consequences to the offspring.",
author = "Schreier, {Hannah Mc} and Hsu, {Hsiao Hsien} and Chitra Amarasiriwardena and Coull, {Brent A.} and Lourdes Schnaas and T{\'e}llez-Rojo, {Martha Mar{\'i}a} and {Tamayo Y Ortiz}, Marcela and Wright, {Rosalind J.} and Wright, {Robert O.}",
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Schreier, HM, Hsu, HH, Amarasiriwardena, C, Coull, BA, Schnaas, L, Téllez-Rojo, MM, Tamayo Y Ortiz, M, Wright, RJ & Wright, RO 2015, 'Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy', Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, vol. 14, no. 1, 28. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-015-0016-9

Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. / Schreier, Hannah Mc; Hsu, Hsiao Hsien; Amarasiriwardena, Chitra; Coull, Brent A.; Schnaas, Lourdes; Téllez-Rojo, Martha María; Tamayo Y Ortiz, Marcela; Wright, Rosalind J.; Wright, Robert O.

In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, Vol. 14, No. 1, 28, 01.01.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy

AU - Schreier, Hannah Mc

AU - Hsu, Hsiao Hsien

AU - Amarasiriwardena, Chitra

AU - Coull, Brent A.

AU - Schnaas, Lourdes

AU - Téllez-Rojo, Martha María

AU - Tamayo Y Ortiz, Marcela

AU - Wright, Rosalind J.

AU - Wright, Robert O.

PY - 2015/1/1

Y1 - 2015/1/1

N2 - Background: Disrupted maternal prenatal cortisol production influences offspring development. Factors influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis include social (e.g., stressful life events) and physical/chemical (e.g., toxic metals) pollutants. Mercury (Hg) is a common contaminant of fish and exposure is widespread in the US. No prior study has examined the joint associations of stress and mercury with maternal cortisol profiles in pregnancy. Objectives: To investigate potential synergistic influences of prenatal stress and Hg exposures on diurnal cortisol in pregnant women. Methods: Analyses included 732 women (aged 27.4∈±∈5.6 years) from a Mexico City pregnancy cohort. Participants collected saliva samples on two consecutive days (mean 19.52∈±∈3.00 weeks gestation) and reported life stressors over the past 6 months. Hg was assessed in toe nail clippings collected during pregnancy. Results: There were no main effects of Hg or psychosocial stress exposure on diurnal cortisol (ps∈>∈.20) but strong evidence of interaction effects on cortisol slope (interaction B∈=∈.006, SE∈=∈.003, p∈=∈.034) and cortisol at times 1 and 2 (interaction B∈=∈-.071, SE∈=∈.028, p∈=∈.013; B∈=∈-.078, SE∈=∈.032, p∈=∈.014). Women above the median for Hg and psychosocial stress exposure experienced a blunted morning cortisol response compared to women exposed to higher stress but lower Hg levels. Conclusions: Social and physical environmental factors interact to alter aspects of maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. Research focusing solely on either domain may miss synergistic influences with potentially important consequences to the offspring.

AB - Background: Disrupted maternal prenatal cortisol production influences offspring development. Factors influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis include social (e.g., stressful life events) and physical/chemical (e.g., toxic metals) pollutants. Mercury (Hg) is a common contaminant of fish and exposure is widespread in the US. No prior study has examined the joint associations of stress and mercury with maternal cortisol profiles in pregnancy. Objectives: To investigate potential synergistic influences of prenatal stress and Hg exposures on diurnal cortisol in pregnant women. Methods: Analyses included 732 women (aged 27.4∈±∈5.6 years) from a Mexico City pregnancy cohort. Participants collected saliva samples on two consecutive days (mean 19.52∈±∈3.00 weeks gestation) and reported life stressors over the past 6 months. Hg was assessed in toe nail clippings collected during pregnancy. Results: There were no main effects of Hg or psychosocial stress exposure on diurnal cortisol (ps∈>∈.20) but strong evidence of interaction effects on cortisol slope (interaction B∈=∈.006, SE∈=∈.003, p∈=∈.034) and cortisol at times 1 and 2 (interaction B∈=∈-.071, SE∈=∈.028, p∈=∈.013; B∈=∈-.078, SE∈=∈.032, p∈=∈.014). Women above the median for Hg and psychosocial stress exposure experienced a blunted morning cortisol response compared to women exposed to higher stress but lower Hg levels. Conclusions: Social and physical environmental factors interact to alter aspects of maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. Research focusing solely on either domain may miss synergistic influences with potentially important consequences to the offspring.

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