Prenatal and recent methylmercury exposure and heart rate variability in young adults: the Seychelles Child Development Study

Wojciech Zareba, Sally W Thurston, Grazyna Zareba, Jean Philippe Couderc, Katie Evans, Jean Xia, Gene E Watson, J.J. Strain, Emeir M. McSorley, Alison J. Yeates, Maria S Mulhern, Conrad F Shamlaye, Pascal Bovet, Edwin van Wijngaarden, Philip W Davidson, Gary J Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Epidemiologic evidence of an adverse association between exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) from consuming fish and heart rate variability (HRV) is inconclusive. We aimed to evaluate MeHg exposure in relation to HRV parameters in a large cohort of young adults from a high fish consuming population in the Republic of Seychelles. Main Cohort participants in the Seychelles Child Development Study were evaluated at a mean age of 19 years. Prenatal MeHg exposure was determined in maternal hair growing during pregnancy and recent exposure in participant's hair taken at the evaluation. The evaluation consisted of short (~2 h) and long (overnight) Holter recordings obtained in 514 and 203 participants, respectively. Multivariable analyses examined the association of prenatal and recent MeHg exposure (in separate models) with time-domain and frequency-domain HRV parameters in different physiologic circumstances: supine position, standing position, mental stress when undergoing a mathematics test, sleep, and long recording. Prenatal MeHg exposure was not associated with any of the 23 HRV parameters studied after adjustment for multiplicity. The recent MeHg showed a trend toward significance only for few variables in the primary model. However, after additional adjustment for activity levels, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and multiplicity none were significant after a Bonferroni adjustment. In conclusion, prenatal and recent MeHg exposure had no consistent pattern of associations to support the hypothesis that they are adversely associated with heart rate variability in this study population that consumes large amounts of fish.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106810
Number of pages9
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Prenatal and recent methylmercury exposure and heart rate variability in young adults: the Seychelles Child Development Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this