Chlorinated persistent organic pollutants, obesity, and type 2 diabetes

Duk-Hee Lee, Miquel Porta, David R Jacobs, Laura N Vandenberg
Endocrine Reviews 2014, 35 (4): 557-601
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are lipophilic compounds that travel with lipids and accumulate mainly in adipose tissue. Recent human evidence links low-dose POPs to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Because humans are contaminated by POP mixtures and POPs possibly have nonmonotonic dose-response relations with T2D, critical methodological issues arise in evaluating human findings. This review summarizes epidemiological results on chlorinated POPs and T2D, and relevant experimental evidence. It also discusses how features of POPs can affect inferences in humans. The evidence as a whole suggests that, rather than a few individual POPs, background exposure to POP mixtures-including organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls-can increase T2D risk in humans. Inconsistent statistical significance for individual POPs may arise due to distributional differences in POP mixtures among populations. Differences in the observed shape of the dose-response curves among human studies may reflect an inverted U-shaped association secondary to mitochondrial dysfunction or endocrine disruption. Finally, we examine the relationship between POPs and obesity. There is evidence in animal studies that low-dose POP mixtures are obesogenic. However, relationships between POPs and obesity in humans have been inconsistent. Adipose tissue plays a dual role of promoting T2D and providing a relatively safe place to store POPs. Large prospective studies with serial measurements of a broad range of POPs, adiposity, and clinically relevant biomarkers are needed to disentangle the interrelationships among POPs, obesity, and the development of T2D. Also needed are laboratory experiments that more closely mimic real-world POP doses, mixtures, and exposure duration in humans.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"