Plasma selenium influences arsenic methylation capacity and developmental delays in preschool children in Taiwan

Chien Tien Su, Ru Lan Hsieh, Chi Jung Chung, Pai Tsang Huang, Ying Chin Lin, Pui Lam Ao, Horng Sheng Shiue, Wei Jen Chen, Shiau Rung Huang, Ming I. Lin, Shu Chi Mu, Yu Mei Hsueh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

15 Scopus citations


Inefficient arsenic methylation capacity has been associated with developmental delay in preschool children. Selenium has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect experimental animals from chemically induced neurotoxicity. The present study was designed to explore whether plasma selenium levels affects arsenic methylation capacity related to developmental delay in preschool children. A case-control study was conducted from August 2010 to March 2014. All participants were recruited from the Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Teaching Hospital. In total, 178 children with a developmental delay and 88 children without a delay were recruited. High-performance liquid chromatography-linked hydride generator and atomic absorption spectrometry were used to determine urinary arsenic species, including arsenite (AsIII), arsenate (AsV), monomethylarsonic acid (MMAV), and dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV). Plasma selenium levels were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. As results, plasma selenium concentration was significantly inversely associated with the odds ratio (OR) of developmental delay. Plasma selenium concentration was positively associated with arsenic methylation capacity [percentage of inorganic arsenic and percentage of MMAV (MMAV%) decreased, and percentage of DMAV (DMAV%) increased]. High plasma selenium concentration and high DMA% significantly and additively interacted to decrease the OR of developmental delay; the OR and 95% confidence interval were 0.40 (0.18–0.90). This is the first study to show a combined dose-response effect of plasma selenium concentration and that efficient arsenic methylation capacity decreased the OR of developmental delay in preschool children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 04 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Arsenic
  • Arsenic methylation
  • Developmental delay
  • Selenium


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