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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP275

Serum Vaccine Antibody Concentrations in Adolescents Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds

Philippe Grandjean,a,b Carsten Heilmann,c Pal Weihe,d Flemming Nielsen,a Ulla B. Mogensen,e and Esben Budtz-Jørgensene
Author Affiliations open
aDepartment of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; bDepartment of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA; cPaediatric Clinic, Rigshospitalet – National University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; dDepartment of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, Faroese Hospital System, Torshavn, Faroe Islands; eDepartment of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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  • Background: Postnatal exposure to perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs) is associated with lower serum concentrations of specific antibodies against certain childhood vaccines at age 7 years.

    Objectives: We prospectively followed a Faroese birth cohort to determine these associations at age 13 years.

    Methods: In 516 subjects (79% of eligible cohort members) aged 13 years, serum concentrations of PFASs and of antibodies against diphtheria and tetanus were measured and compared with data from the previous examination at age 7. Multiple regression analyses and structural equation models were applied to determine the association between postnatal PFAS exposures and antibody concentrations.

    Results: Serum concentrations of PFASs and antibodies generally declined from age 7 to age 13. However, 68 subjects had visited the emergency room and likely received a vaccination booster, and a total of 202 children showed higher vaccine antibody concentrations at age 13 than at age 7. Separate analyses were therefore conducted after exclusion of these two subgroups. Diphtheria antibody concentrations decreased at elevated PFAS concentrations at ages 13 and 7 years, associations being statistically significant for PFDA at age 7 and PFOA at age 13, both suggesting a decrease by about 25% for each doubling of exposure. Structural equation models showed that a doubling in PFAS exposure at age 7 was associated with losses in diphtheria antibody concentrations at age 13 of 10-30% for the five PFASs. Few associations were observed for anti-tetanus concentrations.

    Conclusions: These results are in accordance with previous findings of PFAS immunotoxicity at current exposure levels.

  • 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: Grandjean P, Heilmann C, Weihe P, Nielsen F, Mogensen UB, Budtz-Jørgensen E. Serum Vaccine Antibody Concentrations in Adolescents Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds. Environ Health Perspect;

    Received: 9 February 2016
    Revised: 6 June 2016
    Accepted: 12 July 2016
    Published: 9 August 2016

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