Elevated Blood Ammonia Level Is a Potential Biological Risk Factor of Behavioral Disorders in Prisoners

Yunfeng Duan, 1 Xiaoli Wu, 1 , 2 Shan Liang, 1 , 2 and Feng Jin 1 , 


Hydrothion (H2S) and ammonia (NH3) can be toxic for the human central nervous system and cause psychological disturbances and behavioral disorders. In order to evaluate the association between the two potential toxicants and mental health, in this study, we compare a male prisoner and control population. Forty-nine male prisoners and 52 control volunteers took part in the study. An aggressive behavior assessment, the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to characterize the participants’ mental health status. Venous blood was collected for detection of H2S and NH3. The results indicated that blood NH3 was significantly higher in male prisoners than in controls. However, blood H2S was significantly lower. Blood NH3 was also significantly and positively correlated with prisoners. In the multivariate adjusted models, after controlling for age, education, marital status, and BMI, we found a positive association between NH3 and prisoners, but not blood H2S. While the functions of the two toxicants were quite different, blood NH3 may be a potential biological risk factor for behavioral disorders and blood H2S showed neuroprotection. Additionally, the impact of other factors such as diet and gut bacteria should be considered when evaluating risk for behavioral disorders

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