Accumulation of toxic metals in infants/children is of serious concern worldwide, from the viewpoint of their harmful effects on the normal growth and development. This metallomics study investigates the extent of toxic metal burdens in infants/children and the relationship to those in their mothers for 77 child/mother pair subjects. For mercury, its geometric mean concentration in infants/children was of similar level to that in their mothers, and a high-significant close correlation was observed between infants/children and their mothers (β = 0.758, r = 0.539, p < 0.0001). A significant but less intimate mother/child relationship was observed for arsenic (β = 0.301, r = 0.433), lead (β = 0.444, r = 0.471) and aluminum (β = 0.379, r = 0.451). Remarkably, the burden levels of lead, cadmium and aluminum in infants/children were approximately three times higher than those in their mothers (p < 0.0001), and the burden levels in some individuals were several tens of times higher than in the mothers. In contrast, some essential metal levels such as zinc, magnesium and calcium in infants/children were significantly lower than those in their mothers, and 29 individuals (37.7%) in the child subjects were estimated to be zinc-deficient. In addition, significant inverse correlations were observed between zinc and lead (r = −0.267, p = 0.019), and magnesium and arsenic (r = −0.514, p < 0.0001). These findings suggest that these toxic metal burdens and essential metal deficiencies in infants/children are of serious concern for their neurodevelopment, indicating that the early assessment and intervention are crucial. It is expected that larger epidemiological and intervention studies will provide a reasonable and essential pathway for intervention of neurodevelopment disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology