Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and adipocytokines: the HOME Study

Pediatr Res. 2018 Dec;84(6):854-860. doi: 10.1038/s41390-018-0170-1. Epub 2018 Sep 13.


Objective: Gestational perfluoroalkyl substances exposure has been associated with decreased birthweight. We determined if gestational perfluoroalkyl substances exposure was associated with fetal metabolic markers using data from the HOME Study, a prospective birth cohort of pregnant women and their children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Methods: Maternal serum concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid were quantified. We measured neonatal adipocytokine (leptin and adiponectin) concentrations in umbilical cord serum, and estimated percent differences with a 2-fold increase in maternal perfluoroalkyl substances concentrations among 230 mother-infant pairs.

Results: Median maternal serum PFOA and PFOS concentrations were 5.6 ng/mL and 14 ng/mL, respectively. Leptin was positively correlated with infant birthweight (p < 0.001). There were no statistically significant associations between maternal perfluoroalkyl substances and neonatal adipocytokine concentrations; each 2-fold increase in PFOA was associated with a non-significant increase in leptin (5%; 95% CI: -10, 22) and adiponectin (7%; 95% CI: -4, 19).

Conclusion: Despite known associations with reduced birthweight, gestational serum perfluoroalkyl substances concentrations were not associated with neonatal adipocytokine concentrations. Further exploration of pathways of perfluoroalkyl substances associated changes in birthweight may help identify biomarkers that could be used to identify at-risk populations and develop interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood*
  • Adipokines / metabolism*
  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / adverse effects
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood
  • Biomarkers
  • Birth Weight
  • Caprylates / adverse effects
  • Caprylates / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / adverse effects*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Mothers
  • Ohio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sulfonic Acids / adverse effects
  • Sulfonic Acids / blood


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Leptin
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • perfluorohexanesulfonic acid
  • perfluorononanoic acid
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
  • perflexane