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. 2016 Aug;149:179-188.
doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.05.017. Epub 2016 May 19.

Thyroid Antagonists and Thyroid Indicators in U.S. Pregnant Women in the Vanguard Study of the National Children's Study

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Thyroid Antagonists and Thyroid Indicators in U.S. Pregnant Women in the Vanguard Study of the National Children's Study

Mary E Mortensen et al. Environ Res. .
Free PMC article


The sodium iodide-symporter (NIS) mediates uptake of iodide into thyroid follicular cells. This key step in thyroid hormone synthesis is inhibited by perchlorate, thiocyanate (SCN) and nitrate (NO3) anions. When these exposures occur during pregnancy the resulting decreases in thyroid hormones may adversely affect neurodevelopment of the human fetus. Our objectives were to describe and examine the relationship of these anions to the serum thyroid indicators, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4), in third trimester women from the initial Vanguard Study of the National Children's Study (NCS); and to compare urine perchlorate results with those in pregnant women from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES). Urinary perchlorate, SCN, NO3, and iodine, serum TSH, FT4, and cotinine were measured and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was administered to pregnant women enrolled in the initial Vanguard Study. We used multiple regression models of FT4 and TSH that included perchlorate equivalent concentration (PEC, which estimates combined inhibitory effects of the anions perchlorate, SCN, and NO3 on the NIS). We used multiple regression to model predictors of each urinary anion, using FFQ results, drinking water source, season of year, smoking status, and demographic characteristics. Descriptive statistics were calculated for pregnant women in NHANES 2001-2012. The geometric mean (GM) for urinary perchlorate was 4.04µg/L, for TSH 1.46mIU/L, and the arithmetic mean for FT4 1.11ng/dL in 359 NCS women. In 330 women with completed FFQs, consumption of leafy greens, winter season, and Hispanic ethnicity were significant predictors of higher urinary perchlorate, which differed significantly by study site and primary drinking water source, and bottled water was associated with higher urinary perchlorate compared to filtered tap water. Leafy greens consumption was associated with higher urinary NO3 and higher urinary SCN. There was no association between urinary perchlorate or PEC and TSH or FT4, even for women with urinary iodine <100µg/L. GM urinary perchlorate concentrations in the full sample (n=494) of third trimester NCS women (4.03µg/L) were similar to pregnant women in NHANES (3.58µg/L).

Keywords: Biomonitoring; NHANES; National Children's Study; Perchlorate; Pregnancy.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: None of the authors has any actual or potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

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