Relationship between mercury in kidney, blood, and urine in environmentally exposed individuals, and implications for biomonitoring

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Abstract

Background:

Individuals without occupational exposure are exposed to mercury (Hg) from diet and dental amalgam. The kidney is a critical organ, but there is limited information regarding the relationship between Hg in kidney (K-Hg), urine (U-Hg), blood (B-Hg), and plasma (P-Hg).

Objectives:

The aim was to determine the relationship between K-Hg, U-Hg, B-Hg, and P-Hg among environmentally exposed individuals, estimate the biological half-time of K-Hg, and provide information useful for biomonitoring of Hg.

Methods:

Kidney cortex biopsies and urine and blood samples were collected from 109 living kidney donors. Total Hg concentrations were determined and the relationships between K-Hg, U-Hg, P-Hg, and B-Hg were investigated in regression models. The half-time of K-Hg was estimated from the elimination constant.

Results:

There were strong associations between K-Hg and all measures of U-Hg and P-Hg (rp = 0.65–0.84, p < 0.001), while the association with B-Hg was weaker (rp = 0.29, p = 0.002). Mean ratios between K-Hg (in μg/g) and U-Hg/24h (in μg) and B-Hg (in μg/L) were 0.22 and 0.19 respectively. Estimates of the biological half-time varied between 30 and 92 days, with significantly slower elimination in women. Adjusting overnight urine samples for dilution using urinary creatinine resulted in less bias in relation to K-Hg or U-Hg/24h, compared with other adjustment techniques.

Conclusions:

The relationship between K-Hg and U-Hg is approximately linear. K-Hg can be estimated using U-Hg and gender. Women have longer half-time of Hg in kidney compared to men. Adjusting overnight urine samples for creatinine concentration resulted in less bias.

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