News
27/1/2017

ISGlobal: The genetic background promotes the association between airborne copper exposure and impaired cognitive development in children

ISGlobal: The genetic background promotes the association between airborne copper exposure and impaired cognitive development in children


News from ISGlobal


A new study performed by ISGlobal and published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health correlates airborne copper exposure with impaired cognitive development in children. The study highlights the influence of the child’s genetic background, which may promote this association.

Recent studies already suggested that airborne exposure to copper negatively affects cognitive function in children, and that the effects may be linked to the efficiency of copper metabolism, which is partly regulated by a protein (an ATPase coded by the ATP7B gene) that pumps copper out of the cell. The aim of the study was to investigate whether the association between airborne copper exposure and inattentiveness in urban scholar children was modified by genetic variations of the ATP7B gene.

The study repeatedly asssessed the cognitive process of attentiveness in 1,645 children between 7 and 11 years of age from Barcelona during one year, and measured copper exposure levels. The results indicate that children carrying two variants in the ATP7B gene presented higher inattentiveness scores when exposed to higher levels of indoors copper exposure. These data suggest that individuals with those mutations are more vulnerable to to copper exposure even if the levels are within usual urban concentration ranges. 

More information:
ISGlobal website

Reference article:
Alemany S, Vilor-Tejedor N, Bustamante M, Álvarez-Pedrerol M, Rivas I, Forns J, Querol X, Pujol J, Sunyer J. Interaction between airborne copper exposure and ATP7B polymorphisms on inattentiveness in scholar children. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2016 Oct 22.