Abstract Objective Rates of diabetes mellitus are higher in South Asians than other populations and persist after migration. One unexplored cause may be higher exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) associated with diabetes in other populations. We compared organochlorine (OC) pesticide concentrations in South Asian immigrants and European whites and determined if the disease was positively associated with OC pesticides in South Asians. Research Design and Methods South Asians of Tamil or Telugu descent (N=120) and European whites (N=72) were recruited into the London Life Sciences Population (LOLIPOP) Study cohort. Blood samples, as well as biometric, clinical, and survey data were collected. Plasma levels of p,p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE), p,p’- dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), β-hexachlorohexane (β-HCH), and polychlorinated biphenyl-118 (PCB-118) were analyzed by gas-chromatography mass spectrometry. South Asian cases and controls were categorized by binary exposure (above versus below the 50th percentile) to perform logistic regression. Results Tamils had approximately 3-9-fold higher levels of OC pesticides and Telugus had 9-30-fold higher levels as compared to European whites. Odds of exposure to p,p’-DDE above the 50th percentile was significantly greater in South Asian diabetes cases than controls, OR= 7.00 (2.22, 22.06 95%CI). Odds of exposure to β-HCH above the 50th percentile were significantly greater in the Tamil cases than controls, OR= 9.35 (2.43, 35.97 95%CI). Conclusions South Asian immigrants have a higher body burden of OC pesticides than European whites. Diabetes mellitus is associated with higher p,p’-DDE and β-HCH concentrations in this population. Additional longitudinal studies of South Asian populations should be performed. Copyright © 2018 Endocrine Society This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No-Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Journal of the Endocrine Society – Oxford University Press
Published: May 22, 2018
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