Higher PBDE serum concentrations may be associated with feline hyperthyroidism in Swedish cats

Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Apr 21;49(8):5107-14. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00234. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Serum from 82 individual cats was analyzed for decabromobiphenyl (BB-209), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hydroxylated PBDEs (OH-PBDEs), and 2,4,6-TBP in order to study differences in body burden between healthy and sick cats diagnosed with Feline Hyperthyroidism (FH). Within the study group, 60 of these cats had a euthyroid (n = 23) or hyperthyroid (n = 37) status, all of which were used in the comparison. This study shows that hyperthyroid compared to euthyroid cats have higher serum concentrations for some of the investigated PBDEs (BDE-99, BDE-153, and BDE-183) and CB-153 on a fat weight basis. Further, it is intriguing, and beyond explanation, why the flame retardant BB-209 (discontinued in 2000) is present in all of the cat serum samples in concentrations similar to BDE-209. Median BDE-47/-99 ratios are 0.47 and 0.32 for healthy and euthyroid cats, respectively, which differs significantly from Swedes, where the ratio is 3.5. Another important finding is the occurrence of very low levels or the absence of hydroxylated PBDE metabolites in the cats. In addition, the major OH-PBDE, 6-OH-BDE47, is likely of natural origin, probably ingested via cat food. The statistics indicate an association between elevated PBDE concentrations in the cats and FH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / blood
  • Cat Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / blood*
  • Hyperthyroidism* / blood
  • Hyperthyroidism* / epidemiology
  • Hyperthyroidism* / veterinary
  • Male
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers