Kumar J, Lind PM, Salihovic S, van Bavel B, Ingelsson E, Lind L
Environ. Health Perspect. 122 (9) 977-983 [2014-09-00; online 2014-05-23]
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are compounds that are generated through various industrial activities and released in the surrounding environment. Different animal studies have shown effects of different POPs on various inflammatory markers. Because very few studies have been conducted in humans, we assessed the associations between different POPs and inflammatory markers in a large population-based sample of elderly men and women (all 70 years of age) from Sweden. This cross-sectional study investigated the concentrations of several polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin, and brominated diphenyl ether congeners and their association with a number of inflammatory markers [vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), E-selectin, C-reactive protein (CRP), total leucocyte count, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), and interleukin 6 (IL-6)] in 992 individuals. These individuals were recruited from the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) cohort. We used a total toxic equivalency (TEQ) value that measures toxicological effects with the relative potencies of various POPs. Following adjustment for potential confounders, the TEQ value (driven mainly by PCB-126) was significantly associated with levels of ICAM-1 (p < 10-5). A similar trend was also observed between sum of PCBs and VCAM-1 (p < 0.001). No significant associations were observed between levels of POPs and other inflammatory markers. TEQ values were associated with levels of ICAM-1, to a lesser degree also with VCAM-1, but not with CRP and several other inflammatory markers. These findings suggest an activation of vascular adhesion molecules by POPs, and particularly by PCB-126.