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Dioxin-like Activity in Pregnant Women and Indices of Fetal Growth: The ACCEPT Birth Cohort

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Exposure to lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (lipPOPs) elicits a number of species-and tissue-specific toxic responses, many of which involve the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). This study aims to measure the combined serum dioxin-like activity of lipPOPs in Greenlandic Inuit pregnant women and the associations with fetal growth indices. The combined dioxin-like activity of serum lipPOPs extracts was determined using the AhR reporter gene bioassay and expressed as pico-gram (pg) TCDD equivalent (TEQ) per gram serum lipid [AhR-TEQ (pg/g lipid)]. Significant AhR-TEQ was found in >87% of serum samples with the median level of 86.2 pg TEQ/g lipid. The AhR-TEQ level positively correlated with the marine food intake biomarker n-3/n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio, while negatively correlated with body mass index and parity. Women giving birth to infants with low birth weight (<2500 g) and length (<50 cm) had higher AhR-TEQ level compared to those with normal weight and length infants. For previous smokers, we found significant inverse associations between maternal AhR-TEQ level and fetal growth indices. In conclusion, exposure of Greenlandic Inuit pregnant women to dioxin-like compounds through traditional marine food can adversely influence the fetal growth via induced AhR activity. Smoking might have modifying effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Research areas

  • persistent organic pollutants, dioxin-like activity, aryl hydrocarbon receptor, Greenlandic Inuit, pregnant women, fetal growth indices

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