Relationship between serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and metabolic syndrome among non-diabetic adults

J Prev Med Public Health. 2010 Jan;43(1):1-8. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2010.43.1.1.


Objectives: This study was performed to investigate if organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were associated with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance among non-diabetes.

Methods: Among subjects who participated in a community-based health survey, 50 non-diabetic subjects with metabolic syndrome and 50 normal controls were selected. Insulin resistance was measured by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR). Eight OCPs were selected.

Results: After adjusting for confounders except for body mass index (BMI), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH) and heptachlor epoxide were positively associated with metabolic syndrome. Odds ratios across tertiles of beta-HCH and heptachlor epoxide were 1.0, 3.2 and 4.4, and 1.0, 4.0 and 6.0, respectively (p for trend = 0.01 and <0.01). After additional adjustment for body mass index (BMI), heptachlor epoxide still showed an increasing trend with adjusted odds ratios of 1.0, 4.1, and 4.6 (p for trend = 0.10). When the five components of metabolic syndrome (with the definition of high fasting glucose (> or =100 mg/dL)) were separately analyzed, all components were positively, but not significantly, associated with heptachlor epoxide. As the serum concentration of heptachlor epoxide increased, HOMA-IR increased significantly in subjects with metabolic syndrome even after adjusting for BMI (p value <0.05 and <0.01).

Conclusions: Despite the small sample size, this study suggests that the background exposure to some OCPs may be associated with metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / toxicity*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Lipids
  • Pesticides