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J Occup Med Toxicol. 2018 May 31;13:18. doi: 10.1186/s12995-018-0199-4. eCollection 2018.

Association of plasma PCB levels and HbA1c concentration in Iran.

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2School of Medicine- International Campus, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.
3Center for Research on Occupational Diseases, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.
4Community and Preventive Medicine Department, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.
1Institute for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Aachen, RWTH University Aachen, Pauwelsstr 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany.



The rapid increase in prevalence of diabetes mellitus over the last decades warrants more attention to the effects of environmental and occupational exposures on glucose metabolism. Our study aimed to assess the association between the plasma levels of various congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the serum concentration of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c).


Our study population consisted of 140 Iranian adults from seven different occupational groups and a group of non-occupationally exposed female participants. The plasma concentration of PCBs were determined at the laboratory of occupational toxicology at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. We considered an HbA1c concentration of 5.7% and more as indicating a disturbed glucose metabolism. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between quartiles of concentrations of PCB congeners and serum HbA1c.


Participants with an increased HbA1c value had higher plasma levels of PCB 138, 153, 180 and the PCB sum, although this association was statistically not significant. There was no significant difference between the levels of PCB 138, 153, 180, the sum of these congeners, and PCB 118 in their quartiles when comparing with HbA1c concentrations.


For our cohort, we could not demonstrate a significant association between PCB and HbA1c concentrations indicating a disturbance of glucose metabolism.


Glucose disturbance polychlorinated biphenyls; diabetes mellitus; HbA1c; PCB

Conflict of interest statement

All participants of the study gave written informed consent. Participation was voluntary and confidentiality was guaranteed through anonymous data gathering. Indeed, this study has been approved by the Ethics Committee at the Research Division of the Ministry of Health in Tehran (Project number: 93–03–103-26,804-144,653) and by the ethic commission of the medical faculty of the RWTH Aachen University (EK176/11).The authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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