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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jul 7;49(13):8033-40. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00520. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

Association between Several Persistent Organic Pollutants in Serum and Adipokine Levels in Breast Milk among Lactating Women of Korea.

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†School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.
‡College of Natural Sciences, Soonchunhyang University, Asan 336-745, Republic of Korea.
§College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul 152-703, Republic of Korea.
∥College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Seoul 140-743, Republic of Korea.
⊥College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon 400-711, Republic of Korea.
¶College of Medicine, Hallym University, Anyang 431-796, Republic of Korea.
∇College of Medicine, Jeju National University, Jeju 690-756, Republic of Korea.
#College of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 700-721, Republic of Korea.
iCollege of Science and Technology, Hanyang University, Ansan 426-791, Republic of Korea.


Exposure to several persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been linked to alteration of lipid metabolism. Adipokines, such as leptin and adiponectin, are hormones that play roles in lipid metabolism, and have been suggested as markers of health effects that may lead to obesity. To date, only serum adipokines have been associated with POPs exposure. In the present study, for the first time, the associations between leptin and adiponectin in breast milk, and several POPs in serum were investigated among 82 lactating Korean women between 25 and 46 years of age. Breast milk adipokines are important because adipokine intake of infant through breastfeeding may influence the growth of infants. The median concentrations of leptin and adiponectin in skimmed milk of the Korean lactating women were 17.9 ng/L and 16.5 μg/L, respectively. Leptin concentrations in breast milk were negatively associated with ∑hexachlorohexane (HCH), oxychlordane, ∑chlordane, or 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB 153) levels in maternal serum. Linear relationships between adiponectin and POPs concentrations were not observed, however, nonmonotonic relationship which showed generally positive associations was suggested for p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and ∑chlordane in quartile analysis. Our observations show that POPs at the current level of exposure may be associated with the alteration of lipid metabolism among lactating women. Implication of adipokine transfer to breastfed infants is of concern and deserves further investigation.

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