Blood metal levels and third trimester maternal plasma matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) (Abstract)

Au F, Bielecki A, Blais E, Fisher M, Cakmak S, Basak A, Gomes J, Arbuckle TE, Fraser WD, Vincent R, Kumarathasan P. Chemosphere. 2016 Sep;159:506-15. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.06.011. 

While it is known that in utero exposure to environmental toxicants, namely heavy metals, can adversely affect the neonate, there remains a significant paucity of information on maternal biological changes specific to metal exposures during pregnancy. This study aims at identifying associations between maternal metal exposures and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that are known to be engaged in pregnancy process. Third trimester maternal plasma (n = 1533) from a pregnancy cohort (Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals Study, MIREC) were analyzed for MMP-1,-2,-7,-9 and -10 by affinity-based multiplex protein array analyses. Maternal metal concentrations (mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic and manganese) in 1st and 3rd trimesters exhibited strong correlations (p < 0.05). Multivariate regression models were used to estimate odds ratio (OR) for the association between metal concentrations in quartiles and high (90%) and low (10%) maternal MMP levels. Significant (p < 0.05) metal exposure-related effects were observed with the different MMP isoform responses. MMP profiles were specific to the trimester at which the maternal blood metals were analyzed. Our findings suggest that the profiles of these MMP isoforms vary with the type of metal exposure, blood metal concentrations and the trimester at which metal levels were determined. These new findings on maternal metal-MMP relationships can guide future explorations on toxicity mechanisms relevant to metal exposure-mediated adverse birth outcomes.