Hair and nail nicotine levels of mothers and their infants as valid biomarkers of exposure to intrauterine tobacco smoke

Mitzi D. Go, Wael K. Al-Delaimy, Diane Schilling, Brittany Vuylsteke, Shawn Mehess, Eliot R. Spindel, Cindy T. McEvoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Tobacco use remains the single most modifiable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes. It is crucial to be able to accurately quantify the burden of tobacco exposure on both the mother and fetus to have better measures of efficacy with interventions being studied. METHODS This is a descriptive and exploratory study conducted within a randomized controlled trial. Pregnant smoking and non-smoking women were followed from ≤22 weeks' gestation through delivery with monthly maternal smoking questionnaires, urine cotinine levels, and collection of maternal and infant hair and nail samples, at delivery. Nicotine was extracted and measured (ng/mg) using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. RESULTS Forty-six mother-infant dyads (34 pregnant smokers and 12 pregnant non-smokers) had successful completion of maternal and infant hair and nails samples. The median hair nicotine levels of the smoking mothers and their infants was significantly higher than those of the non-smokers (1.015 vs 0.037 ng/mg, p<0.05 for the mothers; 0.445 vs 0.080 ng/mg, p<0.01 for the infants). Similarly, the median nail nicotine levels for smoking mothers and their infants were significantly higher than the non-smokers (2.130 vs 0.056 ng/mg, p<0.01 for the mothers; 0.594 vs 0.132 ng/mg, p<0.05 for the infants). We found a moderate but significant correlation between maternal hair and nail nicotine (r=0.64, p<0.001), infant hair and nail nicotine (r=0.64; p<0.001), maternal and infant hair nicotine (r=0.61, p<0.001), and maternal and infant nail nicotine levels (r=0.58, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS Our study shows that both infant hair and nail nicotine levels are valid biomarkers of intrauterine tobacco smoke exposure, and can be used to identify prenatal smoke exposure, correlating well with the level of maternal nicotine exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Infant hair nicotine
  • Infant nail nicotine
  • Intrauterine smoke exposure
  • Maternal hair nicotine
  • Maternal nail nicotine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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