Increased prevalence and coincidence of antinuclear and antithyroid antibodies in the population exposed to high levels of polychlorinated pollutants cocktail

Endocr Regul. 2009 Apr;43(2):75-81.


Objectives: Because of well known association between the exposure to persistent organochlorinated pollutants (POPs) and impaired immune system, it was attempted to check possible coincidence of nuclear and thyroperoxidase antibodies with the levels of major POPs.

Methods: Antinuclear antibodies. (ANA) were estimated by indirect immunofluorescence test using Hep2- cells and thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOab) by electrochemiluminiscent immunoassay in the cohort of 253 adults (82 males and 171 females) aged 21-75 years, among them 144 (46 males and 98 females) from the area polluted (POLL) by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and 109 (36 males and 73 females) from the area of background pollutrion (BCGR). In the same cohort fifteen congeners of PCB and also total DDE (2,2'-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were estimated by high resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

Results: Prevalence of ANA only was significantly higher in POLL than in BCGR in males (p < 0.001) and females (p < 0.001) and the same was true for the prevalence of TPOab in males (p < 0.05) and females (p < 0.01) from POLL. In addition, also the prevalence of coincident ANA+TPOab in males (p < 0.001) and females (p < 0.05) was significantly higher in POLL. In a total of 253 pooled males and females from both areas and stratified in terms of PCB level quintiles. The prevalence of ANA in the 4th and 5th quintile of each among three pollutants (PCB, DDE and HCB) was significantly higher (p < 0.01 or < 0.001) and showed the parallel increase with the level of all pollutants.

Conclusions: Significantly increased prevalence of ANA either only or in coincidence with TPOab was found related to increasing level of PCB, DDE and HCB.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / chemically induced
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodide Peroxidase / immunology*
  • Iron-Binding Proteins / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • Slovakia
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • TPO protein, human
  • Iodide Peroxidase