Obesogenic and diabetogenic impact of high organochlorine levels (HCB, p,p'-DDE, PCBs) on inhabitants in the highly polluted Eastern Slovakia

Endocr Regul. 2014 Jan;48(1):17-24. doi: 10.4149/endo_2014_01_17.


Objective: This study was aimed to evaluate possible obesogenic and diabetogenic impact of highly increased serum level of persistent organochlorinated pollutants POPs, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiethyl-dichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), on the level of obesity markers (cholesterol and triglyceride level in serum, and body mass index [BMI]) and diabetes markers (fasting glucose and fasting insulin in serum) in inhabitants of Eastern Slovakia.

Methods: In young (21-40 years) males (n=248) and females (n=330) as well as in old (41-75 years) males (n=586) and females (n=889), the serum levels of 15 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (Σ15PCBs), p,p'-DDE and HCB, and serum insulin, testosterone, total cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels have been estimated by high resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and by the appropriate electrochemiluminiscent immunoassay or chemical methods, respectively.

Results: In both age groups of males and females, the levels of Σ15PCBs, p,p'-DDE, and HCB were very high and their mutual interrelations were highly significant (p<0.01). However, it should be noted that no significant changes were found in individual variables related to very high level of Σ15PCBs, except of increased BMI (p>0.05) in females.In all ages and gender groups, defined above general as related to increasing level of individual OCPs in individual age and gender groups, significant increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as BMI values, supported their obesogenic effect, while significant increase in fasting glucose and insulin in serum, supported their diabetogenic effect. Finally, highly significant decrease in testosterone level, as found in both young and old males, supported the antiandrogenic effect, namely of HCB. However, somewhat less of p,p'-DDE, while PCBs did not show any such effect in spite of their very high level.

Conclusions: Highly increased blood levels of diabetes (fasting glucose and insulin) and obesity markers (cholesterol, triglyceride and BMI) were found in large groups of males and females in highly polluted area of Slovakia. Significant decrease in testosterone level was also observed in males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analysis
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Hexachlorobenzene / analysis
  • Hexachlorobenzene / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Slovakia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls