Exposure to organochlorine pesticides and the risk of type 2 diabetes in the population of East China

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020 Mar 1;190:110125. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.110125. Epub 2019 Dec 27.


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) have been reported to be associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, although no study has focused on such associations in Chinese populations. In this case-control study, we aimed to explore the associations between OCPs and type 2 diabetes and their potential mechanisms in a population from East China. Participants diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and nondiabetic participants from Shandong Province, East China, were enrolled in this case-control study. Six OCPs (β-HCH, trans-chlordane, trans-nonachlor, p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDT and mirex/kepone) were detected in more than 75% of serum samples. Logistic regression analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were used to assess the associations between OCP exposure and the outcomes. After adjusting for potential confounding factors such as age, sex and body mass index, all six OCPs showed positive associations with type 2 diabetes in a linear dose-response manner. Serum concentrations of β-HCH and p,p'-DDE were associated with higher levels of fasting plasma glucose in participants without diabetes, although no OCPs showed significant associations with hemoglobin A1c. In addition, certain OCPs showed significantly positive associations with triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and negative relationships with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in nondiabetics, indicating that OCP exposure may disrupt lipid metabolism. Findings in the current study indicated that OCPs may be a diabetogenic factor in the population of this study. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the associations between OCP exposure and type 2 diabetes in a Chinese population.

Keywords: Fasting plasma glucose; Hemoglobin A1c; Lipid fractions; Organochlorine pesticides; Type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Chlordan / analysis
  • DDT / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Pesticides / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides
  • Triglycerides
  • Chlordan
  • nonachlor
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • DDT
  • beta-hexachlorocyclohexane