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Final Progress Reports: Columbia University: Trace Metals Core

Superfund Research Program

Trace Metals Core

Project Leader: Joseph H. Graziano
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2000-2017
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Final Progress Reports

Year:   2016  2010  2005 

The primary purpose of the Trace Metals Core Laboratory, which is jointly funded by SRP and the P30 Center, is to provide Center investigators with the capability to obtain analyses of biological samples for a broad array of metals. In addition, the facility provides method development for these analyses, standardization, and quality control. The Trace Metals Core provides analytical support to Drs. Habibul Ahsan, Mary Gamble, and Joseph Graziano.

During the past year, this Core Lab conducted more than 30,000 "routine" analyses of biological samples from the researchers it supports. A main focus of the Core's activities has been analytical support for As and creatinine measurements for the HEALS Cohort Study, which is now in its fourth biannual follow-up visit. Roughly one half of the laboratory's analyses have gone to support Dr. Mary Gamble's studies of folate and creatine supplementation in the FACT Study (Folate and Creatine Trial; N = 800), as well as Dr. Ahsan's BEST study (Bangladesh Vitamin E and Selenium Trial; N = 8,000). In addition, in support of Dr. Gamble's FOX study (Folate, Arsenic and Oxidate Stress), 400 urinary and blood measurements were conducted, including measurements of arsenic metabolites by HPLC-ICP-MS-DRC technology.

Given the similarities in the metabolism of Mn and Fe, Core researchers have also conducted various measurements related to Fe metabolism in various studies of children and adults. These have included hemoglobin, plasma iron, ferritin and transferrin receptors.

Four years ago, the Trace Metals Core developed a new method for the analysis of arsenic in blood, using ICP-MS-DRC. That method allowed Core researchers to demonstrate that blood As is an extremely useful biomarker of exposure. Moreover, the method allows for the simultaneous measurement of other metals of interest that are covariates in many analyses, namely Pb, Mn, and Se. During the past year the lab has continued to provide these blood analyses to several researchers, notably Dr. Gamble.

Given the potential utility of blood arsenic measurements in epidemiologic research, last year researchers have validated the use of fingerstick blood samples for the analysis of As in blood. This method is now in full use and has allowed for repeat measurements of blood As concentrations in Dr. Gamble's large folate/creatine trial (i.e., the FACT Study). Approximately 2,400 fingerstick samples have been collected and are in the process of being analyzed by this new method.

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