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J Immunotoxicol. 2011 Jan-Mar;8(1):95-100. doi: 10.3109/1547691X.2010.549096.

Maternal and early postnatal polychlorinated biphenyl exposure in relation to total serum immunoglobulin concentrations in 6-month-old infants.

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  • 1Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC 27709-2233, USA.


Animal data indicate that developmental tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin exposure alters immune function; however, the potential immunotoxicity of dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the developing infant is an understudied area. The aim of the current study is to examine the association between maternal and early postnatal PCB concentrations in relation to total infant serum immunoglobulin concentrations determined at 6-months-of-age. We selected 384 mother-infant pairs participating in a birth cohort study in Eastern Slovakia. PCB concentrations of several congeners were determined in maternal and cord serum samples and in infant serum samples collected at 6-months-of-age using gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Total immunoglobulin (Ig) G, A, and M concentrations were determined by nephelometry, and IgE concentrations were determined by enzyme-linked immunoassay. Linear regression models with adjustment for potential confounding factors were used to estimate the associations between maternal, cord, and 6-month infant PCB concentrations and total serum immunoglobulins. The median maternal serum concentration of PCB-153 was 140?ng/g lipid, ?10-fold higher than concentrations in childbearing-age women in the United States during the same period. Maternal, cord, or 6-month infant PCB concentrations were not associated with total serum immunoglobulin levels at 6 months, regardless of the timing of PCB exposure, PCB congener, or specific immunoglobulin. In this population, which has high PCB concentrations relative to most populations in the world today, we did not observe any association between maternal and early postnatal PCB concentrations and total immunoglobulin measures of IgG, IgA, IgM, or IgE.

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