BACKGROUND: Concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been associated with an increased type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk. It remains unclear whether POPs are also associated with the risk of diabetes complications including neuropathy and evidence on this topic is scarce. We aimed to investigate the hypothesis that low-dose background concentrations of POPs were positively associated with distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN). METHODS: This cross-sectional study was based on data from the second follow-up (FF4, 2013-2014, N = 2279) of the population-based KORA S4 study (Augsburg, Germany). The study sample consisted of 200 participants, including four groups of 50 persons each with known T2D, prediabetes, newly diagnosed diabetes, and normal glucose tolerance (NGT) based on an oral glucose tolerance test. We analyzed the association of six most abundant serum concentrations of POPs, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as well as organochlorine (OC) pesticides, with DSPN by multivariable logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, glycaemic status, body mass index, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption. We assessed effect modification by age, sex, glycaemic status and obesity and conducted two-pollutant models to check the robustness of the estimates. RESULTS: For all pollutants, the main models indicated no significant association of having DSPN but pointed to rather decreased odds for DSPN. Two-pollutant models supported these findings, though only the association between the combination of PCB-138 and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH) (OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-0.99) with DSPN became significant. No effect modification was found by age, sex, glycaemic status and obesity. CONCLUSION: Low-dose concentrations of POPs were not associated with increased odds of having DSPN in T2D, prediabetes and NGT.
GrantsState of Bavaria German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Ministry of Culture and Science of the State North RhineWestphalia German Federal Ministry of Health Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health by German Federal Ministry of Education andResearch (BMBF)