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Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Oct;117(10):1600-6. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0900611. Epub 2009 May 20.

Exposure to hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs) in the prenatal period and subsequent neurodevelopment in eastern Slovakia.

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Division of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, California, USA.



Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs), unlike PCBs, are in general readily excreted yet are still detected in humans and animals. Active transport of OH-PCBs across the placenta and hydroxylation of PCBs by the fetus suggest the potential for greater impact on the fetus compared with the parent PCB compounds, but little is known about their health effects, particularly in humans.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the associations between prenatal OH-PCB exposure and neurodevelopment in children at 16 months of age in eastern Slovakia.


A birth cohort (n = 1,134) was enrolled during 2002-2004. We analyzed six OH-PCB metabolites (4-OH-CB-107, 3-OH-CB-153, 4-OH-CB-146, 3'-OH-CB-138, 4-OH-CB-187, and 4'-OH-CB-172) in a subset of the cohort. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development were administered to the children at the 16-month follow-up visit. We developed multiple linear regression models predicting standardized scores for the Mental Development Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) from maternal (n = 147) and cord (n = 80) serum OH-PCB concentrations, adjusting for sex of child, district, HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment) score, and maternal score on Raven's Progressive Matrices.


Cord 4-OH-CB-107 was significantly associated with lower MDI (beta = -2.27; p = 0.01) and PDI (beta = -4.50; p = 0.004). Also, maternal 4-OH-CB-107 was significantly associated with lower MDI (beta = -1.76; p = 0.03) but not PDI. No other OH-PCB metabolites were associated with decreased PDI or MDI.


Our findings showed a significant association of 4-OH-CB-107 with decreased MDI, which can possibly be mediated by endocrine disruption, altered neurotransmitter functions, or reduced thyroid hormone concentrations in brain.


Bayley Scales of Infant Development; Slovakia; hydroxylated PCBs

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