Background: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been suggested to be linked to obesity. We have previously shown that less-chlorinated PCBs were positively related to fat mass, while highly-chlorinated PCBs were inversely related to obesity.
Objective: The aim of the present evaluation is to investigate the relationship between retrospective assessed life-time change in body weight (20-70 years) with circulating POP levels measured at age 70 years.
Methods: 1016 subjects aged 70 years were investigated in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUSs) study. 16 PCBs and 3 OC pesticides were analyzed using HRGC/HRMS. Current body weight was measured and participants self-reported their weight at age 20.
Results: The average estimated weight change over 50 years was 14.4 kg. Both the sum of OC pesticide concentrations (4.3 kg more weight gain in quintile 5 vs. quintile 1, p<0.0001) and the sum of the less-chlorinated PCBs were positively related to the estimated weight change (3.7 kg more weight gain in quintile 2 vs. quintile 1, non-linear relationship p=0.0015). In contrast, the sum of concentrations of highly-chlorinated PCBs were inversely related to estimated weight change (8.4 kg less weight gain in quintile 5 vs. quintile 1, p<0.0001).
Conclusion: High levels of OC pesticides and the less-chlorinated PCBs at age 70 were associated with a pronounced estimated weight change over the previous 50 years. However, the opposite was seen for highly-chlorinated PCBs. Differences in mode of action, toxicokinetics, non-linear relationships and reverse causation might explain these discrepancies.
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