Association of type 2 diabetes mellitus with plasma organochlorine compound concentrations

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2016 Mar-Apr;26(2):207-13. doi: 10.1038/jes.2014.69. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


The increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with obesity, age, and sedentary lifestyle, but exposure to some organochlorine (OC) compounds has also been recently implicated. The hypothesis tested is that higher concentrations of bioaccumulative OC compounds are associated with T2DM. Plasma samples were obtained from a cross-section of adult male and female Caucasians and African Americans, either with or without T2DM from two US Air Force medical facilities. A method of extracting OC compounds from human plasma using solid phase extraction was developed, and three OC compounds [p,p'-DDE (DDE), trans-nonachlor, and oxychlordane] were quantified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Multivariable logistic regression modeling indicated that increasing body mass index (BMI) was associated with T2DM in Caucasians but not in African Americans, and African Americans were more likely to have T2DM than Caucasians with decreasing odds ratios as BMI increased. An association between T2DM and increasing plasma DDE (adjusted for age, base, race, and BMI) was observed. Increasing DDE concentrations were associated with T2DM in older individuals and those with lower BMIs. Thus, in this study sample there was a higher risk of T2DM with increasing DDE concentrations in older people of normal weight and relatively lower risk associated with increasing DDE concentrations in those who are overweight or obese.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / adverse effects*
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel
  • Mississippi
  • Obesity / complications
  • Ohio
  • Risk Factors
  • White People


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Lipids