Association of In Utero Persistent Organic Pollutant Exposure with Placental Thyroid Hormones

Zhong-Min Li, David Hernandez-Moreno, Katharina Maria Main, Niels Erik Skakkebæk, Hannu Kiviranta, Jorma Toppari, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Heqing Shen, Karl-Werner Schramm, Meri De Angelis

39 Citations (Scopus)


In utero exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can result in thyroid function disorder, leading to concerns about their impact on fetal and neonatal development. The present study was performed to investigate the associations between placental levels of various POPs and thyroid hormones (THs). In a prospective Danish study initially established for assessing congenital cryptorchidism, 58 placenta samples were collected from mothers of boys born with (28) and without (30) cryptorchidism. The concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs), organotin chemicals (OTCs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), thyroxine (T4), 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3), and 3,3',5'-triiodothyronine (rT3) were measured. The associations between placental THs and various POPs were analyzed using multiple linear regression. Five PBDEs, 35 PCBs, 14 PCDD/Fs, 3 OTCs, 25 OCPs, T4, T3, and rT3 were measured. No correlation between THs and the odds of cryptorchidism was found. Several POPs were significantly associated with THs: a) T4 was inversely associated with BDEs 99, 100, ΣPBDE, and 2378-TeCDD, and positively associated with 1234678-HpCDF; b) T3 was positively associated with 2378-TeCDF and 12378-PeCDF; c) rT3 was positively associated with PCB 81, 12378-PeCDF and 234678-HxCDF, and inversely associated with tributyltin (TBT), ΣOTC, and methoxychlor (MOC). These results revealed that POP exposures were associated with TH levels in placenta, a possible mechanism for the impacts of POP exposures on children's growth and development. This study provides new insight into the complexity of thyroid-disrupting properties of POPs. More research is needed to elucidate the biological consequences of POP exposures.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3473-3481
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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