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PLoS One. 2016 Jan 11;11(1):e0145818. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145818. eCollection 2016.

Abdominal Obesity and Insulin Resistance in People Exposed to Moderate-to-High Levels of Dioxin.

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Research Center for Environmental Trace Toxic Substances, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Department of Industrial Safety and Health, Hung Kuang University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Obesity, a risk factor for developing metabolic complications, is a major public health problem. Abdominal obesity is strongly accompanied by a cluster of metabolic abnormalities characterized by insulin resistance. The link between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and insulin resistance has been investigated in animal and epidemiological studies. We aimed to examine whether insulin resistance is greater in people with abdominal obesity (AO) and concomitant exposure to serum dioxins (PCDD/Fs). We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study of 2876 participants living near a PCDD/Fs contaminated area. Seventeen 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/Fs congeners were measured, and then the associations between the main predictor variable, serum TEQDF-1998, abdominal obesity (AO), dependent variables, and insulin resistance were examined. Twelve of the 17 congeners, widely distributed among PCDDs, and PCDFs, had trends for associations with abdominal adiposity. In men, the highest quintiles of 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF; 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD; 2,3,7,8-TCDD; 2,3,7,8-TCDF; and 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF had the top five adjusted odds ratios (AORs) + 95% confidence intervals (CIs):[4.2; 2.7-6.4], [3.6; 2.3-5.7], [3.2; 2.1-5.0], [3.0; 2.0-4.5], and [2.9; 1.9-4.7], respectively. In women, the highest quintiles of 1,2,3,4,7,8,9-HpCDF; 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDF; and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF had the top three AORs + 95% CIs:[3.0; 1.9-4.7], [2.0; 1.3-3.1], and [1.9; 1.3-2.9], respectively. After confounding factors had been adjusted for, men, but not women, with higher serum TEQDF-1998 levels or abdominal obesity had a significantly (Ptrend < 0.001) greater risk for abnormal insulin resistance. The groups with the highest joint serum TEQDF-1998 and abdominal obesity levels were associated with elevated insulin resistance at 5.0 times the odds of the groups with the lowest joint levels (AOR 5.23; 95% CI: 3.53-7.77). We hypothesize that serum TEQDF-1998 and abdominal obesity affect the association with insulin resistance in general populations.

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