Persistent organic pollutants and children's respiratory health: The role of cytokines and inflammatory biomarkers

Mireia Gascon, Jordi Sunyer, David Martínez, Stefano Guerra, Iris Lavi, Maties Torrent, Martine Vrijheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Evidence of adverse effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on the developmental respiratory and immune systems in children is still limited, and the biological mechanisms behind such effects are not fully understood. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effects of prenatal DDE, HCB and σPCB exposure on children's respiratory health from birth to 14. years and to evaluate the role of immune biomarkers in these associations.We measured prenatal DDE, HCB and σPCB levels in 405 participants of the INMA-Menorca birth cohort (Spain) and collected information on wheeze, chest infections, atopy and asthma from birth until the age of 14. years. At age 4. years, 275 children provided serum samples and IL6, IL8, IL10, TNFα and C-reactive protein were measured. We applied linear and logistic regression models and generalized estimating equations.Prenatal DDE was associated with wheeze at age 4. years [RR (95% CI) per doubling of concentration=1.35 (1.07, 1.71)], but not thereafter. Prenatal HCB was associated with wheeze [1.58 (1.04, 2.41)] and chest infections [1.89 (1.10, 3.25)] at age 10. years. No associations were found with σPCBs. IL10 levels increased with increasing POP concentration, with HCB showing the strongest association [β (95% CI)=0.22 (0.02, 0.41)]. IL8, IL10 and TNFα were associated with wheeze and/or chest infections and IL10 was associated with asthma.Prenatal DDE and HCB exposure was associated with respiratory health of children at different ages. This study further suggests a possible role of IL10, but not of the other immune biomarkers examined, as an early marker of chronic immune-related health effects of POPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Asthma
  • Chest infections
  • Children
  • Cytokines
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Wheeze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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