Limits...
Five hundred years of mercury exposure and adaptation.

Lombardi G, Lanzirotti A, Qualls C, Socola F, Ali AM, Appenzeller O - J. Biomed. Biotechnol. (2012)

Bottom Line: This was confirmed by microfocused synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis.Biologic rhythms were abnormal and hair growth rate per year, also under ANS control, was reduced (P < 0.001).This would generally benefit survival in the Anthropocene, the man-made world, we now live in.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratorio de Paleopatología, Cátedra Pedro Weiss, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.

ABSTRACT
Mercury is added to the biosphere by anthropogenic activities raising the question of whether changes in the human chromatin, induced by mercury, in a parental generation could allow adaptation of their descendants to mercury. We review the history of Andean mining since pre-Hispanic times in Huancavelica, Peru. Despite the persistent degradation of the biosphere today, no overt signs of mercury toxicity could be discerned in present day inhabitants. However, mercury is especially toxic to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). We, therefore, tested ANS function and biologic rhythms, under the control of the ANS, in 5 Huancavelicans and examined the metal content in their hair. Mercury levels varied from none to 1.014 ppm, significantly less than accepted standards. This was confirmed by microfocused synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis. Biologic rhythms were abnormal and hair growth rate per year, also under ANS control, was reduced (P < 0.001). Thus, evidence of mercury's toxicity in ANS function was found without other signs of intoxication. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis of partial transgenerational inheritance of tolerance to mercury in Huancavelica, Peru. This would generally benefit survival in the Anthropocene, the man-made world, we now live in.

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Growth rates of human scalp hair from different locales and from Huancavelica (Hg). Significantly slower yearly growth (~6 cm/year) is evident in modern residents of Huancavelica.
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fig2: Growth rates of human scalp hair from different locales and from Huancavelica (Hg). Significantly slower yearly growth (~6 cm/year) is evident in modern residents of Huancavelica.

Mentions: The annual growth rate reported for normal human hair is ~16 cm/year [21]. In our controls (n = 4) as determined from the sinusoidal variation in hydrogen isotope ratios in our samples from the USA and Europe, it was 14.2 ± 3.7 SD cm/year. The growth rate of hair from Huancavelica (n = 5) was 6.4 ± 1.7 SD cm/year (P < 0.001) (Figure 2).


Five hundred years of mercury exposure and adaptation.

Lombardi G, Lanzirotti A, Qualls C, Socola F, Ali AM, Appenzeller O - J. Biomed. Biotechnol. (2012)

Growth rates of human scalp hair from different locales and from Huancavelica (Hg). Significantly slower yearly growth (~6 cm/year) is evident in modern residents of Huancavelica.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3403783&req=5

fig2: Growth rates of human scalp hair from different locales and from Huancavelica (Hg). Significantly slower yearly growth (~6 cm/year) is evident in modern residents of Huancavelica.
Mentions: The annual growth rate reported for normal human hair is ~16 cm/year [21]. In our controls (n = 4) as determined from the sinusoidal variation in hydrogen isotope ratios in our samples from the USA and Europe, it was 14.2 ± 3.7 SD cm/year. The growth rate of hair from Huancavelica (n = 5) was 6.4 ± 1.7 SD cm/year (P < 0.001) (Figure 2).

Bottom Line: This was confirmed by microfocused synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis.Biologic rhythms were abnormal and hair growth rate per year, also under ANS control, was reduced (P < 0.001).This would generally benefit survival in the Anthropocene, the man-made world, we now live in.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratorio de Paleopatología, Cátedra Pedro Weiss, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.

ABSTRACT
Mercury is added to the biosphere by anthropogenic activities raising the question of whether changes in the human chromatin, induced by mercury, in a parental generation could allow adaptation of their descendants to mercury. We review the history of Andean mining since pre-Hispanic times in Huancavelica, Peru. Despite the persistent degradation of the biosphere today, no overt signs of mercury toxicity could be discerned in present day inhabitants. However, mercury is especially toxic to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). We, therefore, tested ANS function and biologic rhythms, under the control of the ANS, in 5 Huancavelicans and examined the metal content in their hair. Mercury levels varied from none to 1.014 ppm, significantly less than accepted standards. This was confirmed by microfocused synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis. Biologic rhythms were abnormal and hair growth rate per year, also under ANS control, was reduced (P < 0.001). Thus, evidence of mercury's toxicity in ANS function was found without other signs of intoxication. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis of partial transgenerational inheritance of tolerance to mercury in Huancavelica, Peru. This would generally benefit survival in the Anthropocene, the man-made world, we now live in.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus