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Effects of prenatal exposure to cadmium on neurodevelopment of infants in Shandong, China

Wang, Yiwen, Chen, Limei, Gao, Yu, Zhang, Yan, Wang, Caifeng, Zhou, Yijun, Hu, Yi, Shi, Rong, Tian, Ying
Environmental pollution 2016 v.211 pp. 67-73
adverse effects, animals, blood serum, cadmium, human population, infants, maternal exposure, mothers, neurodevelopment, China
Although animal studies suggested that prenatal cadmium exposure can cause neurodevelopmental deficits, little is explored in human populations, or its mechanism. We investigated the association between prenatal cadmium exposures and infants' developmental quotients (DQs) based on the Gesell Developmental Schedules (gross motor, fine motor, adaptive, language, and social domains) at 12 months of age and explored the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in prenatal cadmium-induced neurodevelopmental deficits in Shandong, China, by enrolling 300 mothers between September 2010 and December 2011. Maternal blood cadmium concentration (median, 1.24 μg/L) was negatively associated with social domain DQs and BDNF levels in cord serum. A 10-fold increase in maternal cadmium levels was associated with a 5.70-point decrease in social domain DQs, a 4.31-point decrease in BDNF levels. BDNF levels were positively associated with social domain DQs. These data suggest that prenatal low-level cadmium exposure has adverse effects on neurodevelopment. BDNF may play an important role in the decline of social domain DQs induced by prenatal low-level cadmium exposure.