Prenatal heavy metal exposures and atopic dermatitis with gender difference in 6-month-old infants using multipollutant analysis

Seulbi Lee, Sung Kyun Park, Hyesook Park, Woojoo Lee, Jung Hyun Kwon, Yun Chul Hong, Mina Ha, Yangho Kim, Boeun Lee, Eunhee Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Prenatal exposure to heavy metals during critical developmental phases has been implicated in allergic phenotypes. However, few studies have been conducted on the gender-specific association of prenatal heavy metal exposure with atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants. Objective: To examine the gender-specific association of prenatal exposure to multiple heavy metals with AD incidence in 6-month-old infants using data from the Mothers and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH). Methods: We evaluated 738 mother–child pairs from the MOCEH study, an ongoing prospective birth cohort. The concentrations of three heavy metals (lead, mercury and cadmium) in maternal blood samples were measured during early and late pregnancy. Each quartile of heavy metal concentration was used to consider the possible nonlinear association with AD. For assessing the multi-pollutant model, we constructed the multivariate regression model including all three heavy metals at both early and late pregnancy. Further, the group Lasso model was used to perform the variable selection with categorized exposures and assess the effect of multiple pollutants including their pairwise interactions. Results: A total of 200 incident cases of AD were diagnosed in 6-month-old infants. In the multivariate regression model of the boy group, adjusted odds ratios comparing the second, third and fourth quartile of lead exposure in boys with the first quartile were 1.83 (95% CI: 1.00, 3.38), 1.04 (0.91, 3.32) and 2.40 (1.18, 4.90), respectively. However, the only second quartile of lead exposure compared to first quartile was significantly associated with AD in girls. In addition, the results of the group Lasso model were similar with the results of multivariate regression model. Conclusion: The results suggest that lead exposure in late pregnancy increases risk of AD in 6-month-old boys although the strength of association is weak. Further studies are needed to confirm the susceptibility window and gender differences in lead-induced AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110865
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Environment Research ( NIER ), funded by the Ministry of Environment ( MOE ) of the Republic of Korea ( NIER-2012-00-02-089 )

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea( NRF ) grant funded by the Korea government( MSIT ) (No. 2019R1F1A1051662 )

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Heavy metal
  • Multiple pollutants
  • Prenatal exposure
  • Prospective cohort


Dive into the research topics of 'Prenatal heavy metal exposures and atopic dermatitis with gender difference in 6-month-old infants using multipollutant analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this