Anthropometric measures and arsenic methylation among pregnant women in rural northern Bangladesh

Tyler J.S. Smith, Ana Navas-Acien, Sarah Baker, Caryn Kok, Kate Kruczynski, Lindsay N. Avolio, Nora Pisanic, Pranay R. Randad, Rebecca C. Fry, Walter Goessler, Alexander van Geen, Jessie P. Buckley, Md Hafizur Rahman, Hasmot Ali, Rezwanul Haque, Saijuddin Shaikh, Towfida J. Siddiqua, Kerry Schulze, Keith P. West, Alain B. LabriqueChristopher D. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Arsenic methylation converts inorganic arsenic (iAs) to monomethyl (MMA) and dimethyl (DMA) arsenic compounds. Body mass index (BMI) has been positively associated with arsenic methylation efficiency (higher DMA%) in adults, but evidence in pregnancy is inconsistent. We estimated associations between anthropometric measures and arsenic methylation among pregnant women in rural northern Bangladesh. Methods: We enrolled pregnant women (n = 784) (median [IQR] gestational week: 14 [13, 15]) in Gaibandha District, Bangladesh from 2018 to 2019. Anthropometric measures were BMI, subscapular and triceps skinfold thicknesses, and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), fat area (MUAFA), and muscle area (MUAMA). Arsenic methylation measures were urinary iAs, MMA, and DMA divided by their sum and multiplied by 100 (iAs%, MMA%, and DMA%), primary methylation index (MMA/iAs; PMI), and secondary methylation index (DMA/MMA; SMI). In complete cases (n = 765 [97.6%]), we fitted linear, beta, and Dirichlet regression models to estimate cross-sectional differences in iAs%, MMA%, DMA%, PMI, and SMI per IQR-unit difference in each anthropometric measure, adjusting for drinking water arsenic, age, gestational age, education, living standards index, and plasma folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine. Results: Median (IQR) BMI, subscapular skinfold thickness, triceps skinfold thickness, MUAC, MUAFA, and MUAMA were 21.5 (19.4, 23.8) kg/m2, 17.9 (13.2, 24.2) mm, 14.2 (10.2, 18.7) mm, 25.9 (23.8, 28.0) cm, 15.3 (10.5, 20.3) cm2, and 29.9 (25.6, 34.2) cm2, respectively. Median (IQR) iAs%, MMA%, DMA%, PMI, and SMI were 12.0 (9.3, 15.2)%, 6.6 (5.3, 8.3)%, 81.0 (77.1, 84.6)%, 0.6 (0.4, 0.7), and 12.2 (9.3, 15.7), respectively. In both unadjusted and adjusted linear models, all anthropometric measures were negatively associated with iAs%, MMA%, and PMI and positively associated with DMA% and SMI. For example, fully adjusted mean differences (95% CI) in DMA% per IQR-unit difference in BMI, subscapular skinfolds thickness, triceps skinfold thickness, MUAC, MUAFA, and MUAMA were 1.72 (1.16, 2.28), 1.58 (0.95, 2.21), 1.74 (1.11, 2.37), 1.45 (0.85, 2.06), 1.70 (1.08, 2.31), and 0.70 (0.13, 1.27) pp, respectively. Conclusions: Anthropometric measures were positively associated with arsenic methylation efficiency among pregnant women in the early second trimester.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116453
JournalEnvironmental research
Volume234
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

Keywords

  • Adiposity
  • Anthropometry
  • Arsenic metabolism
  • Micronutrient status
  • One-carbon metabolism
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Biochemistry

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