Associations between exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and body fat evaluated by DXA and MRI in 109 adolescent boys

Mathilde Lolk Thomsen*, Louise Scheutz Henriksen, Jeanette Tinggaard, Flemming Nielsen, Tina Kold Jensen, Katharina M. Main

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Background: Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) has been associated with changes in body mass index and adiposity, but evidence is inconsistent as study design, population age, follow-up periods and exposure levels vary between studies. We investigated associations between PFAS exposure and body fat in a cross-sectional study of healthy boys. Methods: In 109 boys (10–14 years old), magnetic resonance imaging and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were performed to evaluate abdominal, visceral fat, total body, android, gynoid, android/gynoid ratio, and total fat percentage standard deviation score. Serum was analysed for perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorodecanoic acid using liquid chromatography and triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Data were analysed by multivariate linear regression. Results: Serum concentrations of PFASs were low. Generally, no clear associations between PFAS exposure and body fat measures were found; however, PFOS was negatively associated with abdominal fat (β = -0.18, P = 0.046), android fat (β = -0.34, P = 0.022), android/gynoid ratio (β = -0.21, P = 0.004), as well as total body fat (β = -0.21, P = 0.079) when adjusting for Tanner stage. Conclusions: Overall, we found no consistent associations between PFAS exposure and body fat. This could be due to our cross-sectional study design. Furthermore, we assessed PFAS exposure in adolescence and not in utero, which is considered a more vulnerable time window of exposure.

TidsskriftEnvironmental Health
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 28. jun. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (09–067180); The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (MST-621–00065); The Foundation for Research Collaboration between Rigshospitalet and Odense University Hospital. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
We are very grateful to all families, children, and adolescents who participated in our study. We also appreciate the skilled help of the assistants and technicians at the Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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