Pregnancy is characterized by high bone remodeling and might be a window of susceptibility to the toxic effects of metals on bone tissue. The aim of this study was to assess associations between metals in blood [lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd)and arsenic (As)] and bone remodeling during pregnancy. We studied pregnant woman from the PROGRESS Cohort (Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, and Environment and Social Stress). We measured concentrations of metals in blood and obtained measures of bone remodeling by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) at the radius in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. To account for chronic lead exposure, we measured lead in tibia and patella one-month postpartum with K-shell X-ray fluorescence. We assessed cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between multiple-metal concentrations and QUS z-scores using linear regression models and linear mixed models adjusted for potential confounders. Third trimester blood Cd concentrations were marginal associated with lower QUS z-scores [-0.16 (95% CI: -0.33, 0.007); P-Value = 0.06]. Mixed models showed that blood Cd was longitudinally and marginally associated with an average of -0.10 z-score (95% CI: -0.21, 0.002; P-Value = 0.06) over the course of pregnancy. Associations for Pb and As were all inverse however none reached significance. Additionally, bone Pb concentrations in patella, an index of cumulative exposure, were significantly associated with -0.06 z-score at radius (95% CI: -0.10, -0.01; P-Value = 0.03) during pregnancy. Pb and Cd blood levels are associated with lower QUS distal radius z-scores in pregnant women. Bone Pb concentrations in patella were negatively associated with z-score at radius showing the long-term effects of Pb on bone tissue. However, we cannot exclude the possibility of reverse causality for patella Pb and radius z-score associations. Our results support the importance of reducing women’s metal exposure during pregnancy, as metals exposure during pregnancy may have consequences for bone strength later in life. The main finding of our study is the association between Cd blood levels and radius z-score during pregnancy. Bone lead in patella was also negatively associated with radius z-scores.
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