The Essential and Toxic Effects of Trace Elements in the Biological Tissues of Pregnant Women and Newborn Babies (An Ecologically Unfavourable Region)

The Essential and Toxic Effects of Trace Elements in the Biological Tissues of Pregnant Women and Newborn Babies (An Ecologically Unfavourable Region)

L. Kovalchuk A. Tarkhanova A.Tarkhanov 

The Middle Urals Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Adaptational Problems, Yekaterinburg, Russia

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of the Pediatric Faculty of the Ural State Medical Academy, Municipal hospital No. 1, Yekaterinburg, Russia

The Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Plant & Animal Ecology, Yekaterinburg, Russia

The Oncology Department of the Treatment and Prophylactic Faculty of the Ural State Medical Academy, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Dispensary of Oncology, Sverdlovsk Region, Yekaterinburg, Russia

31 December 2013
| Citation



Ecological conditions in the Urals are unfavorable. In the Sverdlovsk region, every second pregnancy and in Yekaterinburg every third pregnancy burdened of obstetric and gynecologic pathology. It makes us pay a special attention to the reasons of the increased perinatal morbidity and mortality. The aim of the research was to estimate the levels of macro and trace elements: Fe, Ca, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni of 156 pregnant women and their newborn babies inhabiting an industrial city, where the environment is polluted with heavy metal compounds. It was found that the women had low indices of ecological valency, pregnancy complication and break of reproductive functions (hestoses, anemia, threat pregnancy interruption). Inspection of cases revealed chronic hypoxia (81.2%), Fe-deficiency anemia (50.4%), gestosis (29.9%), extragenital diseases of infectious inflammatory character (65%), chronic pyelonephritis (18.8%), hypertension (13.7%).

All inspected women (megacity) had higher levels of trace elements: Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni in the placenta tissue (p < 0.05) and the deficiency of the essential elements Mn, Mg and Fe (p < 0.01). Higher levels of Cu, Cd, Pb were observed in the blood serum. The newborn babies had higher levels of Cu and Pb in the blood serum. Direct correlations were marked between Cd in the megacity environment and in placenta of pregnant women (R = 0.86, p = 0.041). Average correlation was marked between Pb in the megacity environment and placenta of pregnant women (R = 0.34; p = 0.038). A strong reverse correla-tion was observed between heavy metals in the city environment (Cu, Zn, Pb) and body mass of newborn (R = –0.98; R = –0.98; R = –0.80 respectively, p = 0.034). Reverse correlation was marked between Cd and the fetal growth (R = –0.79; p = 0.037). We marked absence of significant distinctions between the basic and the control group in Cd levels in the blood of healthy newborn babies (0.003 ± 0.001 and 0.002 ± 0.001 mkg/mL, respectively). This evidenced about active barrier function of placenta of healthy women. Significant quantities of Pb were marked in the blood serum of newborn. Barrier function of pla-centa for Pb was not noted. The placenta passes Cu and Zn to the blood of newborn. The combined effect of macro- and microelements through the system mother–placenta–newborn is unfavorable for the fetus.

Pregnant women (megacity) – a group of high risk by the prenatal development (intra-uterine hypoxia and the fetal growth restriction) – and their newborn babies were at risk of developing patholo-gies provoked by the tran splacental ability of toxic elements.


Blood serum, macro- and microelements replaceable, newborn, placenta, pregnant women, trace elements


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