Maternal selenium status and neuropsychological development in Spanish preschool children

Mario Murcia, Llúcia González, Marisa Rebagliato, Carmen Iñiguez, Maria-jose Lopez-espinosa, Jesús Vioque, Karin Broberg, Ferran Ballester, Sabrina Llop, Ruben Amoros Salvador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The relationship between maternal selenium (Se) status and child neurodevelopment has been scarcely assessed. In a previous study we observed an inverse U-shaped association between maternal Se concentrations and infant neurodevelopment at 12 months of age. In this study, this non-linear association was explored at preschool age. The effect modification by breastfeeding, child's sex and cord blood mercury was also evaluated.
Methods: Study subjects were 490 mother-child pairs from the Spanish Childhood and Environment Project (INMA, 2003–2012). Child neuropsychological development was assessed at around 5 years of age by the
McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA). Sociodemographic and dietary characteristics were collected by questionnaire at the first and third trimester of gestation and at 5 years of age. Se was measured in serum samples by ICP-MS at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy (mean ± standard deviation
(SD)=12.4 ± 0.6 weeks of gestation).
Results: The mean ± SD of maternal serum Se concentrations was 79.9 ± 8.1 μg/L. In multivariate analysis, no linear association was found between Se concentrations and the nine MSCA scales. Generalized additive models indicated inverted U-shaped relationships between Se concentrations and the verbal and global memory scales. When assessing the influence of effect modifiers, breastfeeding played a role: the association between Se and neuropsychological development was inverted U-shaped for the quantitative, general cognitive, working memory, fine motor, global motor and executive function scales only for non-breastfed children.
Conclusion: Low and high maternal Se concentrations seem to be harmful for child neuropsychological development, however further studies should explore this non-linear relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date8 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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