Background: Environmental exposure to some persistent organic pollutants has been reported to be associated with a metabolic syndrome in the U.S. population.
Objectives: We evaluated the associations of body burden levels of dioxins and related compounds with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among the general population in Japan.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study with 1,374 participants not occupationally exposed to these pollutants, living throughout Japan during 2002-2006. In fasting blood samples, we measured biochemical factors and determined lipid-adjusted concentrations of 10 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), 7 polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and 12 dioxin-like poly-chlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) all of which have toxic equivalency factors. We also performed a questionnaire survey.
Results: The toxic equivalents (TEQs) of PCDDs, PCDFs, and DL-PCBs and total TEQs had significant adjusted associations with metabolic syndrome, whether or not we excluded diabetic subjects. By analyzing each component of metabolic syndrome separately, the DL-PCB TEQs and total TEQs were associated with all components, and the odds ratios (ORs) in the highest quartile of DL-PCB TEQs in four of the five components were higher than those for PCDDs or PCDFs. We also found congener-specific associations with metabolic syndrome; in particular, the highest quartiles of PCB-126 and PCB-105 had adjusted ORs of 9.1 and 7.3, respectively.
Conclusions: These results suggest that body burden levels of dioxins and related compounds, particularly those of DL-PCBs, are associated with metabolic syndrome. Of the components, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and glucose intolerance were most closely associated with these pollutants.
Keywords: PCBs; PCDDs; PCDFs; cross-sectional study; dioxins; metabolic syndrome; poly-chlorinated biphenyls; polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins; polychlorinated dibenzofurans.