Mercury in Hair Is Inversely Related to Disease Associated Damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

William Crowe, Leanne Doherty, Gene Watson, David Armstrong, Elisabeth Ball, Pamela Magee, Philip Allsopp, Aubrey Bell, J J Strain, Emeir McSorley

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, and environmental factors are proposed to exacerbate existing symptoms. One such environmental factor is mercury. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to mercury (Hg) and disease activity and disease associated damage in Total Hg concentrations in hair and urine were measured in 52 SLE patients. Dental amalgams were quantified. Disease activity was assessed using three indexes including the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Index (BILAG). Disease associated damage was measured using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology SLICC/ACR Damage Index. Pearson's correlation identified a significant negative correlation between hair Hg and BILAG (r = -0.323, p = 0.029) and SLICC/ACR (r = -0.377, p = 0.038). Multiple regression analysis identified hair Hg as a significant predictor of disease associated damage as determined by SLICC/ACR (β = -0.366, 95% confidence interval (CI): -1.769, -0.155 p = 0.019). Urinary Hg was not related to disease activity or damage. Fish consumption is the primary route of MeHg exposure in humans and the inverse association of hair Hg with disease activity observed here might be explained by the anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids also found in fish.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Dec 2015


  • mercury
  • lupus
  • disease activity


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