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. 2013 May;55:33-42.
doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.02.012. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

Distribution of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Two Different Fat Compartments From Obese Individuals


Distribution of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Two Different Fat Compartments From Obese Individuals

Govindan Malarvannan et al. Environ Int. .


There are only few studies defining persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentrations in various fat compartments from living obese individuals. The present study has therefore determined the concentrations of various classes of organohalogenated compounds, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs), chlordane compounds (CHLs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in visceral fat (VF: n=52) and subcutaneous abdominal fat (SF: n=52) samples collected in 2010-2012 from obese individuals in Belgium. Organohalogen compounds were detected in all fat samples in the decreasing order of their concentrations: PCBs>DDTs>HCHs>CHLs>HCB>HBCDs>PBDEs, suggesting that Belgians have been widely exposed to these contaminants. The levels and the patterns of POP distribution in VF and SF tissue depots were not significantly different. Concentrations of PCBs (VF/SF; median: 285/275ng/g lw) and DDTs (VF/SF; median: 150/155ng/g lw) were the major POPs in all fat samples. Concerning PCBs, PCB 153 (VF/SF: 27/26%) was the most dominant congener, followed by PCB 180 (VF/SF: 17/18%), PCB 138 (VF/SF: 15/14.5%) and PCB 170 (VF/SF: 8.1/8.4%) to the sum PCBs, respectively. Levels of HBCDs (VF/SF; median: 4.0/3.7ng/g lw) and PBDEs (VF/SF; median: 2.6/2.7ng/g lw) were 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than those of PCBs and DDTs. Among PBDEs, BDE 153 (VF/SF: 31/34%) was the dominant congener, followed by BDE 47 (VF/SF: 26/23%), BDE 154 (VF/SF: 16/16%), BDE 100 (VF/SF: 10/11%) and BDE 99 (VF/SF: 9/9%). To our knowledge, this is the first report on HBCD concentrations in Belgian human fat tissues. Total PBDE and HBCD levels in human fat samples could not be correlated with age. In agreement with the literature, a significant correlation (p<0.05) between age and the concentration of PCBs (r=0.828), DDTs (r=0.640), HCHs (r=0.666), CHLs (r=0.534) and HCB (r=0.754), was observed in the present study. Levels of DDTs, HCHs, HCB and CHLs were also significantly correlated to each other, suggesting that they share similar exposure routes. Correlation with computed tomography (CT) scan data revealed that VF and VF/SF ratios are positive for most of the POPs, such as PCBs, PBDEs, p,p'DDE, CHLs, β-HCH, and HCB. To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess the relationship between POP levels in adipose tissue and markers of abdominal adiposity, determined by CT.

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