Title: Methods for Individualized Determination of Methylmercury Elimination Rate and De-Methylation Status in Humans Following Fish Consumption.
Authors: Rand, Mathew D; Vorojeikina, Daria; van Wijngaarden, Edwin; Jackson, Brian P; Scrimale, Thomas; Zareba, Grazyna; Love, Tanzy M; Myers, Gary J; Watson, Gene E
Published In Toxicol Sci, (2016 Feb)
Abstract: Methylmercury (MeHg) exposure via fish in the diet remains a priority public health concern. Individual variation in response to a given MeHg exposure and the biotransformation of MeHg that follows complicate our understanding of this issue. MeHg elimination from the human body occurs slowly (elimination rate (kel) approximately 0.01 day(-1) or approximately 70 days half-life [t1/2]) and is a major determinant of the Hg body burden resulting from fish consumption. The underlying mechanisms that control MeHg elimination from the human body remain poorly understood. We describe here improved methods to obtain a MeHg elimination rate via longitudinal Hg analysis in hair using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. We measured MeHg elimination rates in eight individuals following the consumption of 3 fish meals in two 75-day trials separated by a 4-month washout period. In addition, since MeHg biotransformation to inorganic Hg (I-Hg) is associated with Hg excretion, we speciated Hg in feces samples to estimate individual MeHg de-methylation status. We observed a wide range of MeHg elimination rates between individuals and within individuals over time (kel = 0.0163-0.0054 day(-1); estimated t1/2 = 42.5-128.3 days). The ratio of MeHg and I-Hg in feces also varied widely among individuals. While the %I-Hg in feces was likely influenced by dental amalgams, findings with subjects who lacked amalgams suggest that faster MeHg elimination is associated with a higher %I-Hg in feces indicating more complete de-methylation. We anticipate these methods will contribute to future investigations of genetic and dietary factors that influence MeHg disposition in people.
PubMed ID: 26572661
MeSH Terms: Adult; Animals; Feces/chemistry; Female; Fishes*; Food Contamination*; Humans; Intestinal Elimination; Male; Methylation; Methylmercury Compounds/metabolism*; Middle Aged; Seafood*