Ashley-Martin J, Dodds L, Arbuckle TE, Ettinger AS, Shapiro GD, Fisher M, Monnier P, Morisset AS, Fraser WD, Bouchard MF. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2018 Jul;221(6):876-882. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.05.015.
Epidemiological studies have hypothesized that both insufficient and excess blood manganese (Mn) levels during pregnancy are associated with reduced fetal growth. This literature is characterized by inconsistent results and a limited focus on women with exposures representative of the general North American population. We examined the relationship between maternal and cord blood Mn levels and fetal growth among women enrolled in the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals Study (MIREC). Mothers with singleton, term infants and complete maternal first and third trimester blood Mn data were eligible for inclusion in the present study (n = 1519). Mean birth weight and odds ratios of small for gestational age (SGA) births according to maternal and cord blood Mn levels (low (<10), referent (10–<90), high (≥90) percentiles) were estimated. We also evaluated the association between the ratio of cord and maternal blood Mn and birth weight. Women with low (<0.82 μg/dL) maternal blood third trimester Mn levels had infants that weighed an average of 64.7 g (95% CI: −142.3,12.8) less than infants born to women in the referent exposure group. This association was strengthened and became statistically significant when adjusted for toxic metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium) [−83.3 g (95% CI: −162.4, −4.1)]. No statistically significant associations were observed in models of maternal first trimester or cord blood Mn. A one unit increase in the cord/maternal blood Mn ratio was associated with a 29.4 g (95% CI: −50.2, −8.7), when adjusted for maternal and neonatal characteristics. Our findings motivate additional research regarding the relation between Mn exposure and fetal growth. Further inquiry is necessary to determine whether an exposure threshold exists, how growth related effects of maternal and fetal Mn may differ, and how concurrent exposure to other toxic metals may impact the association between Mn and growth.