Exposure to heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) and its effect on the outcome of in-vitro fertilization treatment

Biological and Medical Research Department, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, P.O. Box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (Impact Factor: 3.83). 10/2008; 211(5-6):560-79. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2007.09.005
Source: PubMed


We investigated the effect of lead, cadmium and mercury exposure on pregnancy and fertilization rate outcome among 619 Saudi women (age 19-50 years) who sought in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment between 2002 and 2003. The concentrations of lead, cadmium and mercury were measured in both blood and follicular fluids. At levels well below the current US occupational exposure limit guidelines (40microg/dL) and even less than the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention level of concern for preventing lead poisoning in children (10microg/dL), blood lead level was negatively associated with fertilization outcome in both adjusted and unadjusted logistic regression models. We found that among various demographic, socioeconomic and environmental factors, fish consumption was positively associated with blood lead levels. These results support the hypothesis that a raised blood lead level affects infertility and intervention to reduce the lead exposure might be needed for women of reproductive age. The present results also revealed unexpected finding - the positive relationship between follicular cadmium levels and fertilization outcome, which points to the necessity for further investigation. Though adverse effect of mercury on pregnancy outcome or fertilization rate was not evident in this study, mercury5.8microg/L (EPA safety limit) was found in the blood and follicular fluid of 18.7% and 8.3% of the women, respectively. Concerns about its possible adverse effects on the physiology of reproduction or fetal development cannot be ruled out. It should be noted that skin-lightening creams and dental amalgam were important contributors to mercury exposure. Such finding is alarming and priority for further studies are, urgently, needed.

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    • "Due to its environmental ubiquity, especially as a result of anthropogenic contaminants, the risk of exposure to the effects of lead is very high (Has-Schön et al. 2008; Ebrahimi and Taherianfard 2011; Yi and Zhang 2012; Mahalakshmi et al. 2012). The negative impact of lead on reproductive function was demonstrated in many studies with mammals (Al-Saleh et al. 2008; Iavicoli et al. 2004, 2006; Ronis et al. 1996; Taupeau et al. 2003; Vyskocil et al. 1990). Lead can easily penetrate cell membranes and cross the blood–brain barrier. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lead is reported to be an endocrine disruptor. In the current study, we exposed female Prussian carp to artificial feed, supplemented with five doses of dietary Pb (0, 1 (control), 8, 13, 24, and 49 mg/kg) over either a 24-month period or a 12-month period, followed by further 12 months where the fish were fed the control diet. Periodically, oocyte maturation, gonadosomatic index (GSI), ability to secret luteinizing hormone (LH) as well as gonad Pb concentrations were measured. It was found that the reproductive system of the female Prussian carp is not indifferent to chronic exposure to lead. The negative effect was manifested by a decrease in the GSI after 12 months despite the fact that a higher proportion of oocytes at more advanced maturity stages were concurrently observed. After 12 months of exposure, the effect on LH secretion varied according to the dose. In the group exposed to the lowest dose (8 mg/kg), LH decreased spontaneously, and in the groups exposed to the highest two doses (24 and 48 mg/kg), a significantly higher LHRH-A-stimulated LH secretion was observed. After 24 months of lead exposure, the effects on oocyte maturation and size and on GSI values were not pronounced. Analysis of the effect of lead exposure on LH secretion showed that the relationships were similar to those observed after 12 months but nonsignificant. During chronic a 24-month period exposure to Pb, Prussian carp female appears to acclimate to Pb doses used in the experiment. After 12 months of exposure and 12 months of depuration, the levels of spontaneous and stimulated LH secretion observed in all the groups were similar to the control, which is evidence that depuration eliminates the previously observed effects of exposure to lead. Lead is easily accumulated in the ovary, reaching a fivefold higher level (0.8 mg/kg tissue) compared to the control (0.15 mg/kg tissue), but after discontinuation of exposure, this organ is quickly depurated. The results indicate that environmental Pb can be a potent endocrine disruptor affecting ovarian steroidogenesis, gametogenesis, and ovulation, which may lead to adverse impacts on fish reproduction and population density and that female Prussian carp become resistant to the negative effects of lead with advancing age, and their organs cope by reaching a state of homeostasis.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Environmental Science and Pollution Research
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    • "[11] [12] This can affect the cell membrane potential, intracellular and intercellular signaling. Mercury is a potential neurotoxic agent [13] , which accumulates in female follicular fluid [14] , liver, kidney [15] [16] and muscle. [17] Its presence in agricultural systems is of concern due to its potential tox- icity. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this study the NCI-H295R human adrenocortical carcinoma cell line was used as an in vitro biological model to study the effect of mercury (HgCl(2)) on the steroidogenesis. The cells were cultured for 48 h with addition of 1.0; 5.0; 25; 50 or 100 μM of HgCl(2) and compared to control. Cell viability was measured by the MTT (metabolic activity) assay estimation for the mitochondria structural integrity. Quantification of testosterone and progesterone directly from aliquots of the medium was performed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Concentration-dependent depression in testosterone production was detected particularly for higher concentration of Hg(2+). Progesterone production was also decreased, but at the lower concentrations (1.0 and 5.0 μM) of Hg(2+) this decline was lower compared to depression of testosterone. The cell viability significantly decreased at 25 μM and higher concentration of Hg(2+). However, at 25 μM Hg(2+) exposure the cell viability remained relatively high (> 80%). Results of the study indicate dose-dependent decreases in both testosterone and progesterone production of H295R cell culture following a 48 h in vitro HgCl(2) exposure. The results suggest that Hg has detrimental effects on steroid hormone synthesis also at very low concentrations and consecutively on reproductive physiology.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering
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    • "Tea is one of the most common drinks in all over the world, which is produced from the leaves of a shrub Camellia sinensis[1]. About 98% of people drink tea as the first among all beverages available to use [2]. The 75% of the estimated 2.5 million metric tons of desiccated tea that are produced annually is processed as black tea which is used by many countries [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tea is one of the most common drinks in all over the world. Rapid urbanization and industrialization in recent decades has increased heavy metals in tea and other foods. In this research, heavy metal contents such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) were determined in 105 black tea samples cultivated in Guilan and Mazandaran Provinces in north of Iran and their tea infusions. The amount of heavy metals in black tea infusions were analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP - AES). The mean ± SD level of Pb in 5, 15 and 60 min in infusion tea samples were 0.802 ± 0.633, 0.993 ± 0.667 and 1.367 ± 1.06 mg/kg of tea dry weight, respectively. The mean level of Cd in 5, 15 and 60 min in infusion tea samples were 0.135 ± 0.274, 0.244 ± 0.46 and 0.343 ± 0.473 mg/kg of tea dry weight, respectively. The mean level of As in 5, 15 and 60 min in infusion tea samples were 0.277 ± 0.272, 0.426 ± 0.402 and 0.563 ± 0.454 mg/kg of tea dry weight, respectively. Also, the results showed that the locations and the infusion times influenced upon the amount of these metals (P < 0.05).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering
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