Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hangkong Road 13, 430030, Hubei, Wuhan, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Aluminum is a widely distributed metal that has been reported to have embryotoxicity and fetotoxicity in animal studies. However, there has been no study of the association between prenatal aluminum exposure and newborn mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn). We aimed to investigate the effect of prenatal aluminum exposure on newborn mtDNAcn. A total of 762 mother-newborn pairs were recruited between November 2013 and March 2015 in Wuhan city, China. We measured maternal urinary aluminum concentrations at three trimesters of pregnancy. Relative mtDNAcn was measured in DNA extracted from umbilical cord blood samples. We used generalized estimating equations to assess the relationship between prenatal aluminum exposure and newborn mtDNAcn. The geometric means of creatinine corrected aluminum concentrations were 31.0 μg/g Cr (95% CI: 27.6, 34.7), 40.9 μg/g Cr (95% CI: 35.7, 46.8) and 58.4 μg/g Cr (95% CI: 51.2, 67.4) for the first, second and third trimesters, respectively. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, a doubling of maternal urinary aluminum concentrations during the second and third trimesters was related to 3.16% (95% CI: 0.88, 5.49) and 4.20% (95% CI: 1.64, 6.81) increases in newborn mtDNAcn, respectively, while the association between maternal urinary aluminum concentration during the first trimester and newborn mtDNAcn was not significant (percent difference: 0.70%, 95% CI: -2.25, 3.73). Prenatal aluminum exposure during the second and third trimesters was positively associated with newborn mtDNAcn. Further studies are essential to elucidate on the potential health consequences of newborn mtDNAcn.