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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1510101

A Birth Cohort Study of Maternal and Infant Serum PCB-153 and DDE Concentrations and Responses to Infant Tuberculosis Vaccination

Todd A. Jusko,1,2 Anneclaire J. De Roos,3 Sue Y. Lee,2 Kelly Thevenet-Morrison,1 Stephen M. Schwartz,4 Marc-André Verner,5 Lubica Palkovicova Murinova,6 Beata Drobná,7 Anton Kočan,Anna Fabišiková,9 Kamil Čonka,7 Tomas Trnovec,6 Irva Hertz-Picciotto,10 and B. Paige Lawrence2
Author Affiliations open
1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, USA; 2Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, USA; 3Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; 4Program in Epidemiology, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA; 5Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Université de Montréal Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM), Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 6Department of Environmental Medicine, Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic; 7Department of Toxic Organic Pollutants, Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic; 8Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; 9Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 10Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis, California, USA

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  • Background: Reasons for the highly variable and often poor protection conferred by the Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine are multifaceted and poorly understood.

    Objectives: To determine whether early life PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) and DDE (1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene) exposure reduces 6-month infant BCG vaccine response.

    Methods: Data came from families participating in a prospective birth cohort in eastern Slovakia. At birth, maternal and cord blood were collected for chemical analyses, and infants were immunized with BCG. Blood was collected from infants for chemical analyses and to determine 6-month BCG-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgA levels. Multivariable linear regression models were fit to examine chemical—BCG associations among approximately 500 mother-infant pairs, with adjustment for confounders.

    Results: The median 6-month infant concentration of the prevalent congener PCB-153 was 113 ng/g lipid (IQR: 37, 248), and 388 ng/g lipid (IQR: 115, 847) for DDE. Higher 6-month infant concentrations of PCB-153 and DDE were strongly associated with lower 6-month BCG-specific antibody levels. For instance, BCG-specific IgG levels were 37% lower for infants with PCB-153 concentrations at the 75th percentile compared to the 25th percentile (95% CI: -42, -32; p<0.001). Results were similar in magnitude and precision for DDE. There was also evidence of PCB-DDE additivity, where exposure to both compounds reduced anti-BCG levels more than exposure to either compound alone.

    Conclusions: The associations observed in this study indicate that environmental exposures may be overlooked contributors to poorer responses to BCG vaccine. The overall association between these exposures and tuberculosis incidence is unknown.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Jusko TA, De Roos AJ, Lee SY, Thevenet-Morrison K, Schwartz SM, Verner MA, Palkovicova Murinova L, Drobná B, Kočan A, Fabišiková A, Čonka K, Trnovec T, Hertz-Picciotto I, Lawrence BP. A Birth Cohort Study of Maternal and Infant Serum PCB-153 and DDE Concentrations and Responses to Infant Tuberculosis Vaccination. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510101

    Received: 20 April 2015
    Accepted: 20 November 2015
    Advance Publication: 9 December 2015

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