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Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Aug;49(8):1711-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.04.013. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Placental docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids correlate weakly with placental polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF) and are uncorrelated with polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) at delivery: a pilot study.

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Department of Public Health and Environmental Medicine, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), ARA (arachidonic acid, 20:4n-6) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, 22:6n-3) have positive effects and environment pollutants, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans(PCDD/F) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) have negative effects on neural development during early life. Placental dioxin/PCB serves as markers for cumulative exposure to fetus. Fatty acid composition of placenta depends on nutrient supply during pregnancy, serving as indicators for fetal ARA and DHA accretion. This study investigated correlation between placental PCDD/F and PCB toxic equivalent (TEQ) and LC-PUFA in 34 pregnant women from Taiwan. Placental PCDF TEQ were inversely correlated with placental ARA (p=0.020), C20:3n-6 (p=0.01), C22:4n-6 (p=0.04), C22:5n-6 (p<0.01) and with DHA (p=0.03), but ARA and DHA did not vary with PCDD, dioxin-like and indicator PCB. After adjustment for age and body mass index, a one-unit PCDF TEQ increase was associated with 1.021%w/w and 0.312%w/w decreases in ARA (β=-1.021, p=0.03) and DHA (β=-0.312, p=0.03). Since ARA and DHA were unrelated to three classes of toxins, and a weak negative association was found with PCDF, these data provide no basis for discouraging marine fish consumption during pregnancy for Taiwan women on the basis of these organics. Pregnant women should consume fish for its unique package of nutrients while avoiding few species with high organic pollutant or mercury contamination.

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