Mercury, autoimmunity, and environmental factors on cheyenne river sioux tribal lands.
Additional Document Info
Mercury (Hg), shown to induce autoimmune disease in rodents, is a ubiquitous toxicant throughout Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) lands. CRST members may be exposed to Hg through fish consumption (FC), an important component of native culture that may supplement household subsistence. Our goals were to ascertain whether total blood Hg levels (THg) reflect Hg exposure through FC and smoking, and determine whether THg is associated with the presence of anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) and specific autoantibodies (sAuAb). We recruited 75 participants who regularly consume fish from CRST waters. Hg exposure through FC and smoking were assessed via questionnaires. Whole blood samples were collected from participants, and THg was measured using ICP-MS. ANA and sAuAb in serum were modeled using demographic and exposure information as predictors. Female gender, age, and FC were significant predictors of THg and sAuAb; self-reported smoking was not. 31% of participants tested positive for ANA ≥ 2+. Although ANA was not significantly associated with Hg, the interactions of gender with Hg and proximity to arsenic deposits were statistically significant (P < 0.05). FC resulted in a detectable body burden of Hg, but THg alone did not correlate with the presence of ANA or sAuAb in this population.