Background: Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) are organochlorine pesticides with well-known endocrine disrupting properties. Exposure to p,p'-DDE and HCB concerns human populations worldwide and has been linked to metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, but details about these associations in humans from the general population are largely unknown.
Objectives: We investigated the associations between p,p'-DDE and HCB exposure and global metabolomic profiles in serum samples from 1016 participants from the Swedish population-based Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study.
Methods: HCB and p,p'-DDE levels were determined using gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS). Metabolite levels were determined by using a non-targeted metabolomics approach with ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to time-of- flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOFMS). Association analyses were performed using multivariate linear regression.
Results: We found circulating levels of p,p-DDE and HCB to be significantly associated with circulating levels of 16 metabolites following adjustment for age, sex, education level, exercise habits, smoking, energy intake, and alcohol intake. The majority of the 16 metabolites belong to lipid metabolism pathways and include fatty acids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and glycerolipids. Overall, p,p'-DDE and HCB levels were found to be correlated to different metabolites, which suggests that different metabolic fingerprints may be related to circulating levels of these two pesticides.
Conclusions: Our findings establish a link between human exposure to organochlorine pesticides and metabolites of key metabolic processes mainly related to human lipid metabolism.
Keywords: DDT; HCB; Human exposure; Metabolic effects; Metabolomics; Organochlorine pesticides.
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