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Video Text Alternative: Inside the NICHD: Dr. Anna Pollack on Her Heavy Metals Research

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Inside the NICHD:
Dr. Pollack summarizes her research on heavy metals

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo


GRAPHIC SLIDE:Anna Pollack, Ph.D.

Dr. Pollack on camera.
Dr. Anna Pollack: To summarize the work that I've done on heavy metals–specifically, cadmium, lead, and mercury–and reproductive hormones, what we saw largely, was that these metals were not associated with most reproductive hormones. We also saw that these metals did not seem to be associated with changes in ovulation. And so we had a marker of ovulation in these women, which was their progesterone levels. With that, we were able to examine whether or not these metals were associated with ovulation. What we found was that they weren't. However, we did find, in some of our analyses, that lead exposure was associated with increasing progesterone levels, which seems that it should be fine. However, in some material that I was looking at, in order to understand kind of what this meant, in a population undergoing in vitro fertilization–so an assisted reproductive technology population–having their progesterone levels too high was actually not good, in terms of their maintaining pregnancies. And that's kind of counter to what you would expect, because adequate progesterone levels are actually necessary for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. So, on the face of it, increasing progesterone level seems that it would be fine, that there may be no adverse effects from it. But in these subsets of populations, there may be something going on. It may be a case where too much of a good thing is not necessarily a better thing.
Last Updated Date: 10/17/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 10/17/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology