Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Association with Maternal and Infant Thyroid Homeostasis: A Multipollutant Assessment

Vivian Berg, Therese Haugdal Nøst, Rolf Dagfinn Pettersen, Solrunn Hansen, Anna Sofía Veyhe, Rolf Jorde, Jon Øyvind Odland, Torkjel Manning Sandanger

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Background: Disruption of thyroid homeostasis has been indicated in human studies targeting effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Influence on the maternal thyroid system by POPs is of special interest during pregnancy because such effects could impair infant thyroid homeostasis.
Objectives: We investigated the association between POPs and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones (THs) in mother and child pairs from the Northern Norway Mother-and-Child Contaminant Cohort Study (MISA).
Methods: Nineteen POPs and 10 thyroid parameters were analyzed in serum from 391 pregnant women in their second trimester. In addition, TSH concentrations in heel-prick samples from the infants were analyzed by the Norwegian Newborn Screening program. Association studies with a multipollutant approach were performed using multivariate analyses; partial least squares (PLS) regression, hierarchical clustering, and principal component analysis (PCA).
Results: Several POPs were significantly associated with TSH and THs: a) PFOS was positively associated with TSH; b) PCBs, HCB, and nonachlors were inversely associated with T3, T4, and FT4; and, c) PFDA and PFUnDA were inversely associated with T3 and FT3. After mutual adjustments for the other contaminants, only PFDA and PFUnDA remained significantly associated with T3 and FT3, respectively. Infants born to mothers within the highest TSH quartile had 10% higher mean concentrations of TSH compared with children born to mothers in the lowest TSH quartile.
Conclusion: The present results suggest that background exposures to POPs can alter maternal thyroid homeostasis. This research contributes to the understanding of multipollutant exposures using multivariate statistical approaches and highlights the complexity of investigating environmental concentrations and mixtures in regard to maternal and infant thyroid function. Citation: Berg V, Nøst TH, Pettersen RD, Hansen S, Veyhe AS, Jorde R, Odland JØ, Sandanger TM. 2017. Persistent organic pollutants and the association with maternal and infant thyroid homeostasis: a multipollutant assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-133
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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