Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Jan 15;10(1):114. doi: 10.3390/antiox10010114.
Metal exposure has been associated with a wide range of adverse birth outcomes and oxidative stress is a leading hypothesis of the mechanism of action of metal toxicity. We assessed the relationship between maternal exposure to essential and non-essential metals and metalloids in pregnancy and oxidative stress markers, and sought to identify windows of vulnerability and effect modification by fetal sex. In our analysis of 215 women from the PROTECT birth cohort study, we measured 14 essential and non-essential metals in urine samples at three time points during pregnancy. The oxidative stress marker 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-iso-PGF2α) and its metabolite 2,3-dinor-5,6-dihydro-15-15-F2t-IsoP, as well as prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α), were also measured in the same urine samples. Using linear mixed models, we examined the main effects of metals on markers of oxidative stress as well as the visit-specific and fetal sex-specific effects. After adjustment for covariates, we found that a few urinary metal concentrations, most notably cesium (Cs) and copper (Cu), were associated with higher 8-iso-PGF2α with effect estimates ranging from 7.3 to 14.9% for each interquartile range, increase in the metal concentration. The effect estimates were generally in the same direction at the three visits and a few were significant only among women carrying a male fetus. Our data show that higher urinary metal concentrations were associated with elevated biomarkers of oxidative stress. Our results also indicate a potential vulnerability of women carrying a male fetus.