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Journal Article

Maternal exposure to multiple mycotoxins and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a prospective cohort study in rural Bangladesh


Kyei,  Nicholas
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Waid,  Jillian Lee
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Ali,  Nurshad
External Organizations;

Cramer,  Benedikt
External Organizations;

Humpf,  Hans-Ulrich
External Organizations;


Gabrysch,  Sabine
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Kyei, N., Waid, J. L., Ali, N., Cramer, B., Humpf, H.-U., Gabrysch, S. (2023): Maternal exposure to multiple mycotoxins and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a prospective cohort study in rural Bangladesh. - Archives of Toxicology, 97, 1795-1812.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28886
There is limited and inconsistent evidence, primarily from cross-sectional studies, linking mycotoxins to adverse birth outcomes. This study investigates the potential role of maternal dietary exposure to multiple mycotoxins in the development of several adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. We analyzed data from 436 singleton pregnancies enrolled in a prospective cohort study in the rural Habiganj district, Bangladesh, between July 2018 and November 2019. Thirty-five urinary mycotoxin biomarkers were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry and used to estimate dietary mycotoxin exposure. Multivariable regression models, adjusted for potential confounding and clustering, were fitted to assess the associations between maternal exposure to frequently occurring mycotoxins (ochratoxin A-OTA, citrinin- CIT, and Deoxynivalenol- DON) and pregnancy loss, preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW), born small-for-gestational-age (SGA) and small-vulnerable newborn. The results indicate that only in 16 of 436 pregnancies (4%) were urine samples free from all investigated mycotoxins. Biomarkers for six major mycotoxins were detected in the urine samples. OTA (95%), CIT (61%), and DON (6%) were most frequently detected, with at least two mycotoxins co-occurring in the majority of women (63%). There was evidence that maternal dietary intake of OTA was associated with higher odds of having an LBW baby, with the odds increasing in a dose-dependent manner. We found no evidence of associations between pregnancy loss, PTB, SGA, small-vulnerable newborns, and maternal dietary exposure to OTA, CIT, and DON, albeit with large confidence intervals, so findings are consistent with protective as well as large harmful effects. Exposure to multiple mycotoxins during pregnancy is widespread in this rural community and represents a health risk for mothers and babies. Tailored public health policies and interventions must be implemented to reduce mycotoxin exposure to the lowest possible level.