The Effect of Prenatal Exposure to Heavy Metals on Atopic Dermatitis: A Population-Based, Prospective Birth Cohort Study (COCOA)
Sunday, March 6, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Jihyun Kim, MD, Sook-young Woo, Sun-Woo Kim, Jaehee Choi, Jin-Yong Chung, Young-Seoub Hong, Youngshin Han, PhD, Se-Young Oh, Suk-Joo Choi, Soo-Young Oh, Kyung Won Kim, Youn Ho Shin, MD, Hye-Sung Won, Kyung-Ju Lee, Hee Jin Park, Soo-Jong Hong, MD, PhD, Kangmo Ahn, MD,PhD
Rationale: We aimed to evaluate whether prenatal exposure to heavy metals affects the development, severity, and persistence of atopic dermatitis (AD) in a birth cohort study.

Methods: A total of 312 subjects from the Cohort for Childhood Origin of Asthma and allergic diseases (COCOA) were followed from birth for a mean duration of 35.5 months. The presence and the severity of AD was evaluated at ages of 6 and 12 months, and regularly once a year thereafter. The concentrations of lead, mercury, chromium, and cadmium in cord blood were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC) were isolated and stimulated to analyze cytokine production by using ELISA.

Results: AD developed in 121 (38.8%) children, and heavy metal levels in cord blood were not different between subjects with and without AD. However, the duration of AD was linearly associated with lead levels in cord blood (P=0.002). A positive correlation was also observed between AD severity and mercury concentrations (P= 0.004). IL-13 production in CBMC showed positive correlation with lead levels in cord blood (P=0.026), while there were no associations between mercury, chromium, and cadmium levels and IL-13 levels.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to lead and mercury is associated with persistence and severity of AD.