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Reference Blood manganese concentrations in Jamaican children with and without autism spectrum disorders.

Authors Rahbar MH, Samms-Vaughan M, Dickerson AS, Loveland KA, Ardjomand-Hessabi M, Bressler J, Shakespeare-Pellington S, Grove ML, Pearson DA, Boerwinkle E.
Institution Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences (EHGES), University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.
Citation Environ Health. 2014;13:69.
DOI ID 10.1186/1476-069X-13-69
PubMed® ID 25149876
Review Status Is curated Curated.
Abstract BACKGROUND: Manganese is an essential element for human health and development. Previous studies have shown neurotoxic effects in children exposed to higher levels of manganese. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs social interaction and communication. Several studies have hypothesized that ASD is caused through environmental exposures during crucial stages in brain development. We investigated the possible association between blood manganese concentrations (BMC) and ASD. We also identified factors associated with BMC in typically developing (TD) Jamaican children.

METHODS: We used data from 109 ASD cases with their 1:1 age- and sex-matched TD controls to compare mean BMC in Jamaican children (2-8 years of age) with and without ASD. We administered a pre-tested questionnaire to assess demographic and socioeconomic information, medical history, and potential exposure to manganese. Finally, we collected 2 mL of whole blood from each child for analysis of manganese levels. Using General Linear Models (GLM), we assessed the association between BMC and ASD status. Furthermore, we used two independent sample t-tests to identify factors associated with BMC in TD children.

RESULTS: In univariable GLM analysis, we found no significant association between BMC and ASD, (10.9 μg/L for cases vs. 10.5 μg/L for controls; P = 0.29). In a multivariable GLM adjusting for paternal age, parental education, place of child''s birth (Kingston parish), consumption of root vegetables, cabbage, saltwater fish, and cakes/buns, there was still no significant association between BMC and ASD status, (11.5 μg/L for cases vs. 11.9 μg/L for controls; P = 0.48). Our findings also indicated TD children who ate fresh water fish had a higher BMC than children who did not (11.0 μg/L vs. 9.9 μg/L; P = 0.03) as younger TD children (i.e., 2 ≤ age ≤4), (12.0 μg/L vs. 10.2 μg/L; P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: While these results cannot be used to assess early exposure at potentially more susceptible time period, our findings suggest that there is no significant association between manganese exposures and ASD case status in Jamaica. Our findings also indicate that BMC in Jamaican children resemble those of children in the developed world and are much lower than those in the developing countries.