Thyroid Res 2018 6;11. Epub 2018 Jul 6.
5Department of Endocrinology, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK.
Background: Iodine is important for thyroid hormone synthesis, and iodine deficiency in pregnancy may impair fetal neurological development. As perchlorate and thiocyanate inhibit sodium-iodide symporter reducing the transport of iodine from circulation into the thyroid follicular cells, environmental exposure to these substances in pregnancy may impair maternal thyroid hormone synthesis. We aimed to explore the impact of perchlorate and thiocyanate exposure on thyroid status in a cohort of pregnant mothers from South West England.
Methods: Urine samples were obtained from 308 women participating in a study of breech presentation in late pregnancy. They had no known thyroid disease and a singleton pregnancy at 36-38 weeks gestation. Samples were analysed for urinary concentrations of iodine (UIC), perchlorate (UPC) and thiocyanate (UTC). Blood samples were taken for free T4 (FT4), thyrotropin (TSH) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab). Baseline data included age, parity, smoking status, ethnicity and BMI at booking. Following delivery, data on offspring's sex, gestational age at birth and birthweight were collected.
Results: Participants had a mean (SD) age 31 (5) years, median (IQR) BMI 24.4 (22.0, 28.3) kg/m, 42% were primiparous, 10% were smokers, and 96% were Caucasian. Median UIC was 88 μg/l, and 174/308 (57%) women had UIC < 100 μg/l. Log transformed UPC negatively correlated with FT4, but not with TSH, in the whole cohort ( = - 0.12, = 0.03) and in the subgroup of women with UIC < 100 μg/l ( = - 0.15, = 0.04). Regression analysis with the potential confounders (TPO-Ab status, UIC and UTC) identified UPC to be negatively associated with FT4 ( = 0.01). There was no correlation between UTC and FT4 or TSH. Maternal UPC or UTC was not associated with offspring birthweight.
Conclusion: Environmental perchlorate exposure is negatively associated with circulating FT4 levels in third trimester pregnant women. This may have an adverse impact on neurocognitive development of the fetus.