Association Between Essential Metal Elements and the Risk of Autism in Chinese Han Population

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Ma, Jiahui
Wu, Jing
Li, Haibin
Wang, Jingyu
Han, Jisheng
Zhang, Rong
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Essential metal elements (EMEs) have essential roles in neurological development and maintenance of human homeostasis. We performed a case-control study to explore association between the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the 11 EMEs [Calcium (Ca), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se), cobalt (Co), Molybdenum (Mo), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and iron (Fe)] in serum. Ninety-two autistic subjects (cases) and age-sex-matched healthy subjects (controls = 91) from Beijing, China were recruited. In addition, totally 109 mothers of recruited children participated in this study. ICP-AES and ICP-MS were applied to determine the concentration of 11 EMEs in serum. The concentrations of Ca, K, and Mg were significantly higher in the cases than in the controls (OR [95% CI]: 1.031 [1.006–1.058] for Ca; 1.081 [1.046–1.118] for K; 1.161 [1.012–1.331] for Mg), while the concentrations of Zn and Cu were significantly lower (0.997 [0.995–0.999] for Cu; 0.996 [0.992–1.000] for Zn). Clear dose-response relationships between EMEs concentrations and the risk of ASD, as well as the correlation between EME concentrations and the severity of ASD were observed for most of the above EMEs. Six and seven specific correlated pairs between mothers and children were found in the cases and controls separately. The overall profiles of the EMEs were changed in the cases as compared to the controls. This study suggested that the higher levels of Ca, K, and Mg and lower levels of Zn and Cu may be associated with an elevated risk of ASD.