Association between Maternal Serum Perfluoroalkyl Substances during Pregnancy and Maternal and Cord Thyroid Hormones: Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study
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Citation: Wang Y, Rogan WJ, Chen PC, Lien GW, Chen HY, Tseng YC, Longnecker MP, Wang SL. Association between Maternal Serum Perfluoroalkyl Substances during Pregnancy and Maternal and Cord Thyroid Hormones: Taiwan Maternal and Infant Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306925.
Received: 10 April 2013
Accepted: 20 February 2014
Advance Publication: 21 February 2014
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Background: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are synthetic compounds that are widely used in industry and are often detectable in humans. In pregnant rats and their pups, PFASs can interfere with thyroid hormone homeostasis. In humans, maternal thyroid hormones supply the fetus throughout pregnancy, and thyroid hormones play a critical role in fetal growth and neurodevelopment.
Objectives: To investigate the association between maternal PFAS exposure and thyroid hormone status in pregnant women and neonates.
Methods: In a study of environmental exposure and health in Taiwan, we measured serum concentrations of 9 PFASs and 4 thyroid hormones for 285 pregnant women in their third trimester; and also measured cord serum thyroid hormones for 116 neonates. Associations between maternal PFASs and maternal and cord thyroid hormones were examined in multiple linear regression models.
Results: Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid concentrations were positively associated with maternal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Pregnant women with higher levels of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) had lower free thyroxine (T4) and total T4 levels. For example, we estimated that maternal free T4 levels decreased 0.019 ng/dL (-0.028, -0.009) with each ng/mL increase in maternal PFNA. Finally, maternal PFNA, PFUnDA, and PFDoDA levels were associated with lower cord total triiodothyronine (T3) and total T4 levels, and maternal perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDeA) was associated with lower cord total T3.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that exposure to some PFASs during pregnancy may interfere with thyroid hormone homeostasis in pregnant women and fetuses.
CEHN April 2014 Article of the Month
“Behavioral Sexual Dimorphism in School-Age Children and Early Developmental Exposure to Dioxins and PCBs: A Follow-Up Study of the Duisburg Cohort” [Winneke G, et al. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306533] has been selected by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) for its April 2014 Article of the Month summary. These summaries discuss the potential policy implications of current children’s environmental health research.
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