In Utero Exposure to Compounds with Dioxin-like Activity and Birth Outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Marina Vafeiadi
  • Silvia Agramunt
  • Pedersen, Marie
  • Harrie Besselink
  • Leda Chatzi
  • Eleni Fthenou
  • Sarah Fleming
  • Laura J Hardie
  • John Wright
  • Knudsen, Lisbeth E.
  • Jeanette K S Nielsen
  • Jordi Sunyer
  • Ramon Carreras
  • Gunnar Brunborg
  • Kristine B Gutzkow
  • Unni C Nygaard
  • Martinus Løvik
  • Soterios A Kyrtopoulos
  • Dan Segerbäck
  • Domenico F Merlo
  • Jos C Kleinjans
  • Martine Vrijheid
  • Manolis Kogevinas
  • NewGeneris Consortium

BACKGROUND: Maternal exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds may affect fetal growth and development. We evaluated the association between in utero dioxin-like activity and birth outcomes in a prospective European mother-child study.

METHODS: We measured dioxin-like activity in maternal and cord blood plasma samples collected at delivery using the Dioxin-Responsive Chemically Activated LUciferase eXpression (DR CALUX) bioassay in 967 mother-child pairs, in Denmark, Greece, Norway, Spain, and England. Multiple linear regression models were used to investigate the associations with birth weight, gestational age, and head circumference.

RESULTS: Plasma dioxin-like activity was higher in maternal sample than in cord samples. Birth weight was lower with medium (-58 g [95% confidence interval (CI) = -176 to 62]) and high (-82 g [-216 to 53]) tertiles of exposure (cord blood) compared with the lowest tertile. Gestational age was shorter by approximately half a week in the highest compared with the lowest (-0.4 weeks [95% CI = -0.8 to -0.1]). This association was stronger in boys than in girls, although the statistical evidence for interaction was weak (P = 0.22). Analysis based on CALUX-toxic equivalents expressed per milliliter of plasma showed similar trends. We found no association between dioxin-like activity in maternal plasma and birth outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this international general population study suggest an association between low-level prenatal dioxin-like activity and shorter gestational age, particularly in boys, with weaker associations for birth weight.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEpidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)215-24
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

    Research areas

  • Adult, Biological Assay, Birth Weight, Dioxins, Environmental Pollutants, Europe, Female, Fetal Blood, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Linear Models, Male, Maternal Exposure, Pregnancy, Premature Birth, Prospective Studies, Sex Factors

ID: 137757721