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Environ Health Prev Med. 2013 May;18(3):205-14. doi: 10.1007/s12199-012-0306-6. Epub 2012 Sep 30.

Serum levels of hydroxylated PCBs, PCBs and thyroid hormone measures of Japanese pregnant women.

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Department of Environmental Studies, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8563, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between serum concentrations of hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs) and PCBs and measures of thyroid hormone status of Japanese pregnant women.


The concentrations of free thyroxine (fT4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) as well as 16 OH-PCB isomers and 29 PCB isomers were analyzed in the serum of 129 women sampled in the first trimester of gestation. Dietary and lifestyle information of the subjects was obtained by self-administered questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was performed using measures of thyroid hormones as the dependent variable and serum levels of OH-PCBs/PCBs, urinary iodine concentration, and other potential covariates (age, BMI, smoking, etc.) as independent variables.


Geometric mean (GM) concentration of the sum of 16 isomers of OH-PCBs was 120 pg/g wet wt. and that of 29 isomers of PCBs was 68 ng/g lipid wt., respectively, in the serum of the subjects. Iodine nutrition was considered adequate to high from urinary iodine level (GM, 370 μg/g creatinine). The mean concentration of TSH, fT4 and TBG was 1.34 ± 1.37 μIU/mL, 1.22 ± 0.16 ng/dL and 33.0 ± 6.4 μg/mL, respectively, with a small number of subjects who were outside the reference range. Multiple regression analysis revealed that serum concentrations of OH-PCBs/PCBs were not significantly associated with any of the measures of thyroid hormone status.


Exposure/body burden of OH-PCBs and PCBs at environmental levels does not have a measurable effect on thyroid hormones.

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