Inflammatory and cardiometabolic risk on obesity: role of environmental xenoestrogens

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 May;100(5):1792-801. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4136. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


Context: Some chemicals used in consumer products or manufacturing (eg, plastics, pesticides) have estrogenic activities; these xenoestrogens (XEs) may affect immune responses and have recently emerged as a new risk factors for obesity and cardiovascular disease. However, the extent and impact on health of chronic exposure of the general population to XEs are still unknown.

Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the levels of XEs in plasma and adipose tissue (AT) depots in a sample of pre- and postmenopausal obese women undergoing bariatric surgery and their cardiometabolic impact in an obese state.

Design and participants: We evaluated XE levels in plasma and visceral and subcutaneous AT samples of Portuguese obese (body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m(2)) women undergoing bariatric surgery. Association with metabolic parameters and 10-year cardiovascular disease risk was assessed, according to menopausal status (73 pre- and 48 postmenopausal). Levels of XEs were determined by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. Anthropometric and biochemical data were collected prior to surgery. Adipocyte size was determined on tissue sections obtained during surgery.

Results: Our data show that XEs are pervasive in this obese population. Distribution of individual and concentration of total XEs differed between plasma, visceral AT, and subcutaneous AT, and the pattern of accumulation was different between pre- and postmenopausal women. Significant associations between XE levels and metabolic and inflammatory parameters were found. In premenopausal women, XEs in plasma seem to be a predictor of 10-year cardiovascular disease risk.

Conclusions: Our findings point toward a different distribution of XE between plasma and AT in pre- and postmenopausal women, and reveal the association between XEs on the development of metabolic abnormalities in obese premenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aldrin / blood
  • Aldrin / metabolism*
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / blood
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / blood
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Postmenopause / metabolism*
  • Premenopause / blood
  • Premenopause / metabolism*
  • Trichloroethanes / blood
  • Trichloroethanes / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Trichloroethanes
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Aldrin