BACKGROUND: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are linked with insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes (T2D) in the general population. However, their associations with gestational diabetes (GDM) are inconsistent.
OBJECTIVE: We prospectively evaluated the associations of POPs measured in early pregnancy with GDM risk. We also assessed whether pre-pregnancy BMI (ppBMI) and family history of T2D modify this risk.
METHODS: In NICHD Fetal Growth Study, Singletons, we measured plasma concentration of 76 POPs, including 11 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), 9 polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), 44 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 11 per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) among 2334 healthy non-obese women at 8-13 weeks of gestation. GDM was diagnosed by Carpenter and Coustan criteria. We constructed chemical networks using a weighted-correlation algorithm and examined the associations of individual chemical and chemical networks with GDM using multivariate Poisson regression with robust variance.
RESULTS: Higher concentrations of PCBs with six or more chlorine atoms were associated with increased risk of GDM in the overall cohort (risk ratios [RRs] range: 1.08-1.13 per 1-standard deviation [SD] increment) and among women with a family history of T2D (RRs range: 1.08-1.48 per 1-SD increment) or normal ppBMI (RRs range: 1.08-1.22 per 1-SD increment). Similar associations were observed for the chemical network comprised of PCBs with ≥6 chlorine atoms and the summary measure of total PCBs and non-dioxin like PCBs (138, 153, 170, 180). Furthermore, four PFAS congeners - perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) - showed significant positive associations with GDM among women with a family history of T2D (RRs range:1.22-3.18 per 1-SD increment), whereas BDE47 and BDE153 showed significant positive associations among women without a family history of T2D.
CONCLUSIONS: Environmentally relevant levels of heavily chlorinated PCBs and some PFAS and PBDEs were positively associated with GDM with suggestive effect modifications by family history of T2D and body adiposity status.