New Research Strategy for Measuring Pre- and Postnatal Metal Dysregulation in Psychotic Disorders

Schizophr Bull. 2017 Oct 21;43(6):1153-1157. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbx112.

Abstract

While previous studies have found evidence for detrimental effects of metals on neurodevelopment, the long-term effects on mental health remain unclear. The objective was to explore the effect of early metal exposure on risk of psychotic disorder and on symptom severity following illness onset. Through the use of validated tooth-biomarkers, we estimated pre- and postnatal exposure levels of essential elements (copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc) and elements associated with neurotoxicity (lead, arsenic, lithium, and tin). We found consistently higher levels of lithium in patients compared to controls. Higher levels of magnesium and lower levels of zinc were associated with more severe psychopathology over 20 years after metal exposure. The results show promise for the use of teeth biomarkers in examining early environmental risk for psychosis and underscore the relevance of studying metal exposure during critical neurodevelopmental periods.

Keywords: environmental exposure; neurodevelopmental disorders; psychosis; tooth; trace elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / metabolism
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead / metabolism
  • Lithium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Manganese / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism*
  • Psychotic Disorders / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Tin / metabolism
  • Tooth, Deciduous / chemistry*
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / metabolism*

Substances

  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Tin
  • Copper
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Arsenic